So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Wetumpka AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Wetumpka AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 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 expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges 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 offer through local clinics and hospitals in Wetumpka AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Wetumpka AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist 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 the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Wetumpka AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Wetumpka AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Wetumpka AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Wetumpka AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Wetumpka AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement 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 students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Wetumpka AL residence. Individuals who have opted 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Wetumpka AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Wetumpka AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Wetumpka X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Wetumpka Alabama.