So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prichard AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you should 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 evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Prichard AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize 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 assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Prichard AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase 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 exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Prichard AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Prichard AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Prichard AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Prichard AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Prichard AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Prichard AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Prichard AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Prichard X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Prichard Alabama.