So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscumbia AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Tuscumbia AL clinics, hospitals, 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 have to care for their equipment and also frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 requires 18 months to two years to complete 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 expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Tuscumbia AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Tuscumbia AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant 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 schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Tuscumbia AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Tuscumbia AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Tuscumbia AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Tuscumbia AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Tuscumbia AL residence. 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 local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tuscumbia AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, check 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Tuscumbia X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Tuscumbia Alabama.