So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Southside AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
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. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Southside 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 plus routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Southside AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Southside AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Southside AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Southside AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also receive 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 help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Southside AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Southside AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Southside AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success 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 highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Southside AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Southside AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Southside AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Southside X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Southside Alabama.