So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prichard AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Prichard AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Prichard AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Prichard AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Prichard AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Prichard AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Prichard AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Prichard AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Prichard AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Prichard AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Prichard AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer 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 opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Prichard X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Prichard Alabama.