So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Rainbow City AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right 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 radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. 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 technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Rainbow City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, 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 complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Rainbow City AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch 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 accept other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise 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 Rainbow City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Rainbow City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Rainbow City AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Rainbow City AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Rainbow City AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Rainbow City AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Rainbow City AL home. Individuals 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 concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Rainbow City AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, check that they are available. 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Rainbow City X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Rainbow City Alabama.