So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sheffield AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. 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 commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Sheffield AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected 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.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice 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 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 expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sheffield AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Sheffield AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component 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 programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Sheffield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Sheffield AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation 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 education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Sheffield AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Sheffield AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Sheffield AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Sheffield AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sheffield AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, make sure that they are available. 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Sheffield X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Sheffield Alabama.