So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sylacauga AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other significant qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 take care of their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each 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 primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 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 may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Sylacauga AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Sylacauga AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of any 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 online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Sylacauga AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Sylacauga AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Sylacauga AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Sylacauga AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sylacauga AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sylacauga AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Sylacauga X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Sylacauga Alabama.