So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Rainbow City AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Rainbow City AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Rainbow City AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Rainbow City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Rainbow City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section 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 education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Rainbow City AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers 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 recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Rainbow City AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Rainbow City AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Rainbow City AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Rainbow City AL home. Individuals 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Rainbow City 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Rainbow City X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed 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 interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Rainbow City Alabama.