So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscumbia AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, 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 discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
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. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college 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 typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Tuscumbia AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Tuscumbia AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just confirm that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Tuscumbia AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Tuscumbia AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Tuscumbia AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Tuscumbia AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. 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 a good indication 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 College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Tuscumbia AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tuscumbia AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tuscumbia X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates 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. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Tuscumbia Alabama.