So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Wetumpka AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Wetumpka AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally 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.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Wetumpka AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Wetumpka AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
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 no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Wetumpka AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Wetumpka AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Wetumpka AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Wetumpka AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Wetumpka AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Wetumpka AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Wetumpka AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Wetumpka AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Wetumpka X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed 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 interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Wetumpka Alabama.