So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Satsuma AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since 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 test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to employ 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. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Satsuma 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 maintain their equipment and also frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned 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, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Satsuma AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component 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 improve your career options in and around Satsuma AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Satsuma AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Satsuma AL. You will also need to decide 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 critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Satsuma AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Satsuma AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Satsuma AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Satsuma AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Satsuma AL colleges 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 a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Satsuma AL area, check 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Satsuma X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech college is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct 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 technicians 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 provide the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Satsuma Alabama.