So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Russellville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Russellville AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must take care of their equipment plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected 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.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. 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 additional related majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Russellville AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Russellville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of every 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 online degree, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Russellville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Russellville AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Russellville AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Russellville AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Russellville AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial 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 many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Russellville AL home. Students who have chosen 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Russellville AL colleges you are considering 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Russellville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Russellville X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs 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 productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Russellville Alabama.