So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sylacauga AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to employ 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. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected 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.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sylacauga AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Sylacauga AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Sylacauga AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits 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 ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Sylacauga AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Sylacauga AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Sylacauga AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Sylacauga AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sylacauga AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sylacauga 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 may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Sylacauga X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Sylacauga Alabama.