So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Southside AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Southside AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Southside AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Southside AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires 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 may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Southside AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online school 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Southside AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Southside AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Southside AL medical 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 field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech 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 students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Southside AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Southside AL schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Southside AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Southside X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs 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 pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Southside Alabama.