So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Selma AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Selma AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. 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 as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Selma AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Selma AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
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 the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Selma AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you pick 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 degree may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Selma AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Selma AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Selma AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Selma AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Selma AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Selma AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Selma X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Selma Alabama.