So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Russellville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Russellville AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Russellville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Russellville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Russellville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you select 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 degree may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Russellville AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary 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 ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Russellville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Russellville AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Russellville AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Russellville AL residence. Students who have decided 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 even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Russellville AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night 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 alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Russellville X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain 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 patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Russellville Alabama.