So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Selma AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Selma AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with 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 plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Selma AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance 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 exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Selma AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you select 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 option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Selma AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Selma AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Selma AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? 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 help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Selma AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Selma AL schools you are reviewing what the typical 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 some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Selma X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Selma Alabama.