So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Prichard AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Prichard AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Prichard AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Prichard AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Prichard AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Prichard AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations 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 help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Prichard AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Prichard AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Prichard AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Prichard AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Prichard AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Prichard X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Prichard Alabama.