So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Smiths Station AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining 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.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Smiths Station AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must care for their equipment and also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each 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 standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 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 complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Smiths Station AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve 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 other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Smiths Station AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make 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 formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Smiths Station AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Smiths Station AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Smiths Station AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Smiths Station AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Smiths Station AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Smiths Station AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt 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, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Smiths Station X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Smiths Station Alabama.