So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sylacauga AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required 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 Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sylacauga AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Sylacauga AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Sylacauga AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online program 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.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Sylacauga AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Sylacauga AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Sylacauga AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Sylacauga AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost 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 schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Sylacauga X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Sylacauga Alabama.