So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Rainsville AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask if 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 presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Rainsville AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth 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
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Rainsville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need 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 licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Rainsville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
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 the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Rainsville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Rainsville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Rainsville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Rainsville AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Rainsville AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Rainsville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Rainsville AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rainsville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Rainsville X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Rainsville Alabama.