So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Scottsboro AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the right college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Scottsboro AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Scottsboro AL or their region. Once 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Scottsboro AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Scottsboro AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Scottsboro AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute 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 ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Scottsboro AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Scottsboro AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Scottsboro AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good 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 lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Scottsboro AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need 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 obligations.
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Scottsboro Alabama.