So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sheffield AL in order to become a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to find out 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 examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Sheffield AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 plus frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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 program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Sheffield AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number accept other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Sheffield AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Sheffield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Sheffield AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at 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 uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Sheffield AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are evaluating have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Sheffield AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Sheffield AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing 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 great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Sheffield AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sheffield AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Sheffield X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Sheffield Alabama.