So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sheffield AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Sheffield AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sheffield AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Sheffield AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Sheffield AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened 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 motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Sheffield AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Sheffield AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Sheffield AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Sheffield AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Sheffield AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sheffield AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Sheffield X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed 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 social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Sheffield Alabama.