So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Smiths Station AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Smiths Station AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Smiths Station AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact 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 many provide other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Smiths Station AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Smiths Station AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. 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 colleges are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Smiths Station AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn 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 ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Smiths Station AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Smiths Station AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Smiths Station AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Smiths Station AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Smiths Station AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Smiths Station AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Smiths Station X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Smiths Station Alabama.