So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Princeton AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Princeton AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Princeton AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, 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 contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many accept other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Princeton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any 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 colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Princeton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in 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 right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Princeton AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial 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 a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Princeton AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Princeton AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Princeton AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Princeton AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Princeton AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Princeton X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Princeton Alabama.