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 decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental 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 the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Rainbow City AL clinics, hospitals, 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 plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Rainbow City AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire 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 requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Rainbow City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Rainbow City AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. 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 college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Rainbow City AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Rainbow City AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Rainbow City AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Rainbow City AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Rainbow City X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Rainbow City Alabama.