So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Valley AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options 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 referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some 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, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain detailed 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 Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received 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 common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. 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 schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Valley AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Valley AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
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 course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Valley AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Valley AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn 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. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Valley AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Valley AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Valley AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement 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 well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Valley AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Valley AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Valley AL area, make sure that they are offered. 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Valley X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology technician college is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Valley Alabama.