So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prichard AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Prichard AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Prichard AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Prichard AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Prichard AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Prichard AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Prichard AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Prichard AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Prichard AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Prichard AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Prichard X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Prichard Alabama.