So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Satsuma AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Satsuma AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college 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 longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Satsuma AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Satsuma AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
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 online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Satsuma AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Satsuma AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Satsuma AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Satsuma AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Satsuma AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Satsuma AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Satsuma AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Satsuma X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Satsuma Alabama.