So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Satsuma AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Satsuma AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 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 extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Satsuma AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Satsuma AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Satsuma AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Satsuma AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Satsuma AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Satsuma AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Satsuma AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Satsuma AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Satsuma AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Satsuma X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to 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 right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Satsuma Alabama.