So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Selma AL so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Selma AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed 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 Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Selma AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Selma AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician 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 programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Selma AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Selma AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Selma AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Selma AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Selma AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Selma AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Selma AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Selma X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Selma Alabama.