So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Valley AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you should find out 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 examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical 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 might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Valley AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed 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 Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Valley AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Valley AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Valley AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Valley AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired 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 respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged 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 obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Valley AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Valley AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Valley AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Valley AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Valley AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student 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 an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Valley AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Valley X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Valley Alabama.