So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscumbia AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation 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 evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Tuscumbia AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Tuscumbia AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved 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 education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Tuscumbia AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Tuscumbia AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Tuscumbia AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Tuscumbia AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Tuscumbia AL residence. 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 area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscumbia AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tuscumbia X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Tuscumbia Alabama.