So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Smiths Station AL so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Smiths Station 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 and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement 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 common among techs, normally takes 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 finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Smiths Station AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Smiths Station AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. 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 Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Smiths Station AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you select 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 school may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Smiths Station AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Smiths Station AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Smiths Station AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Smiths Station AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Smiths Station AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Smiths Station AL colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. 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 option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Smiths Station X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Smiths Station Alabama.