So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Smiths Station AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Smiths Station AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 take care of their equipment plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Smiths Station AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Smiths Station AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech 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 while you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Smiths Station AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Smiths Station AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have acquired some type 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Smiths Station AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Smiths Station AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Smiths Station AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement 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 well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Smiths Station AL residence. Those who have opted 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Smiths Station AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. 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.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Smiths Station AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Smiths Station X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians 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 pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Smiths Station Alabama.