So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Wetumpka AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Wetumpka AL hospitals, clinics, 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 have to care for their equipment and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete 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 Offered
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics 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.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Wetumpka AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Wetumpka AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Wetumpka AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Wetumpka AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Wetumpka AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Wetumpka AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Wetumpka AL residence. Those 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required 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 don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Wetumpka AL colleges you are reviewing 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Wetumpka AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Wetumpka X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Wetumpka Alabama.