So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sylacauga AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Sylacauga AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 must maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program 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 common among technicians, generally 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 finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sylacauga AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring 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 as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component 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 degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Sylacauga AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Sylacauga AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Sylacauga AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Sylacauga AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Sylacauga AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high 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 College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider 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 generally 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sylacauga AL schools you are considering 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 converse with several of the instructors and students 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 radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, make certain 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure 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 technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Sylacauga Alabama.