So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Valley AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Valley AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 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 nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Valley 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.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Valley AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Valley AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Valley AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out 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 put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Valley AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Valley AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Valley AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Valley AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Valley AL colleges you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Valley AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Valley X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate radiology technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed 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 social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your final selection. 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 choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Valley Alabama.