So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Rainbow City AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Rainbow City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology 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 technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Rainbow City AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Rainbow City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same 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 school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Rainbow City AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Rainbow City AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Rainbow City AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Rainbow City AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Rainbow City AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Rainbow City AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Rainbow City AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Rainbow City AL area, make certain 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Rainbow City X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain 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. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Rainbow City Alabama.