So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Scottsboro AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if 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 presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Scottsboro AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also 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 Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep 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 program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Scottsboro AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Scottsboro AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Scottsboro AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Scottsboro AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute 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 secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools 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 compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Scottsboro AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Scottsboro AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Scottsboro AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition to 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 rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Scottsboro AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out 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 Right Scottsboro X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology technician school is a critical first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Scottsboro Alabama.