So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuskegee AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize 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. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Tuskegee 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 care for their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common 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 as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Tuskegee AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Tuskegee AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part 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 although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Tuskegee AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online program you pick 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 an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Tuskegee AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 assessment of their teachers and course 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 organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Tuskegee AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Tuskegee AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Tuskegee AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Tuskegee AL home. Students 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tuskegee AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuskegee AL area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Tuskegee X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Tuskegee Alabama.