So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscumbia AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally 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.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program 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 prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tuscumbia AL or their region. After 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.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch 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 a number offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification 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 rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Tuscumbia AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Tuscumbia AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Tuscumbia AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Tuscumbia AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Tuscumbia AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high 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 number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Tuscumbia AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 perhaps 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 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 student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscumbia AL schools you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscumbia AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Tuscumbia X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is an important 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 typically stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Tuscumbia Alabama.