So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Smiths Station AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what 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 administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Smiths Station AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students 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 takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Smiths Station AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Smiths Station AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Smiths Station AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Smiths Station AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn 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 guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Smiths Station AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Smiths Station AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Smiths Station AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out 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 good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Smiths Station AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Smiths Station AL colleges you are considering 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can furnish 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 Smiths Station AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Smiths Station X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Smiths Station Alabama.