So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Southside AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Southside AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray 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 common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Southside AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must 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
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Southside AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn 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 typically conducted in Southside AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Southside AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Southside AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Southside AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Southside AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Southside AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously 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 even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Southside AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Southside AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Southside X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech school is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Southside Alabama.