So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Satsuma AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently 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 evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Satsuma AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology 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 typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Satsuma AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by 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 tech program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Satsuma AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools 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 degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Satsuma AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program 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 right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Satsuma 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 relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Satsuma AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Satsuma AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Satsuma AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Satsuma AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Satsuma AL colleges you are reviewing what the average 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 a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Satsuma X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs 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 deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Satsuma Alabama.