So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Valley AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Valley AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 take care of their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor 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 mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only 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 approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Valley AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may 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 disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Valley AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Valley AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience 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 can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Valley AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Valley AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication 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 Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Valley AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have 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 back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Valley AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important 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 enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Valley X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the ideal radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Valley Alabama.