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 technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Sylacauga AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete 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 Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear 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 or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Sylacauga AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many 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 calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Sylacauga AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Sylacauga AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure 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 review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Sylacauga AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Sylacauga AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Sylacauga AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sylacauga AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide 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 enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sylacauga X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best radiology technician school is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Sylacauga Alabama.