So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sheffield AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Sheffield AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 care for their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sheffield AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Sheffield AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
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 large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Sheffield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Sheffield AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools 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 assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Sheffield AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Sheffield AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sheffield AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Sheffield AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sheffield AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher 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 perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Sheffield X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate radiology technician college is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs 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 good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Sheffield Alabama.