So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Rainbow City AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Rainbow City AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate 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 course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Rainbow City AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Rainbow City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Rainbow City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in 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 school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Rainbow City AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Rainbow City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Rainbow City AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Rainbow City AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement 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 corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Rainbow City AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Rainbow City AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Rainbow City X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician school is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Rainbow City Alabama.