So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Russellville AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. 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. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ 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. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Russellville AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 also regularly analyze its functionality 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.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Russellville AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Russellville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Russellville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm 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 style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Russellville AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Russellville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Russellville AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Russellville AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Russellville AL residence. Students who have decided 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 keep 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? 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 undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Russellville AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Russellville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Russellville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show 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. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians 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 patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school 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 education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Russellville Alabama.