So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Southside AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Southside AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete 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 Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Southside AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Southside AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Southside AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 best option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Southside AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Southside AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Southside AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Southside AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Southside AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Southside AL colleges you are considering 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Southside AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Southside X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians 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 possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Southside Alabama.