So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Southside AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work 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 considering so that you can compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Southside AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all 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 basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be 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 can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Southside AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Southside AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of any 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 programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Southside AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Southside AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain 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 guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Southside AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Southside AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Southside AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Southside AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Southside AL schools 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 speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Southside AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Southside X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Southside Alabama.