So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscumbia AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice 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 have to maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by taking part 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 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 Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may 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 licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Tuscumbia AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
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 no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Tuscumbia AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn 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. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Tuscumbia AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Tuscumbia AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Tuscumbia AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Tuscumbia AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscumbia AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Tuscumbia X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Tuscumbia Alabama.