How to Choose the Right Xray Technician Degree Program near Sheffield Alabama
So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sheffield AL so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let’s explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary in Sheffield AL
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Sheffield AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered near Sheffield AL
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sheffield AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number 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 Sheffield area employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Sheffield AL to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different 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 internship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Sheffield AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your Sheffield residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Sheffield AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Sheffield AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sheffield AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sheffield AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Sheffield AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 perhaps 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sheffield AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher 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 an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sheffield AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in an X-ray Tech Program near Sheffield AL?
If you are considering attending a radiologic technologist school near Sheffield AL, following is some interesting background information regarding the location of your future campus that may assist you in making your final decision.
Sheffield is a city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Shoals metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,039. Sheffield is the birthplace of "country-soul pioneer" and songwriter Arthur Alexander, French horn player Willie Ruff, notable attorney, actor, former senator and presidential contender Fred Thompson, Watergate committee U.S. Senator Howell Heflin and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, whose father was working in nearby Athens when he was born. It sometimes is referred to as "the City of Senators" due to the births of Heflin, McConnell and Thompson within its borders. Col. Harland Sanders worked in the Sheffield depot for Southern Railway in the 1900s. It is also home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio where many popular 20th century musicians recorded their work, including Alexander and Ruff. It is the site of historic Helen Keller Hospital, formerly known as Colbert County Hospital and originally constructed in 1921. It was changed to Helen Keller Hospital in 1979, and Keller's birthplace Ivy Green is located less than one mile southwest of the hospital in adjacent Tuscumbia.
Sheffield is located in eastern Colbert County at 34°45′35″N 87°41′41″W / 34.75972°N 87.69472°W / 34.75972; -87.69472 (34.759721, -87.694592), on the south bank of the Tennessee River. Sheffield is bordered to the south by the city of Tuscumbia, to the southeast by Muscle Shoals, and to the north, across the river, by Florence.
Sheffield was one of the Colbert County sites of embarkation by riverboat and barge on the Tennessee River during the forced relocation of Eastern and Southern United States Indian tribes, known as the Trail of Tears. The embarkation site was at what is now the Spring Creek boat launch and park area.
Sheffield was the home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios at 3614 Jackson Highway and later at 1000 Alabama Avenue. Cher, The Rolling Stones, The Osmonds, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, The Staple Singers and many others recorded the biggest hits of their careers in this small studio, that remains well known and respected throughout the music industry.
Find the Right X Ray Technician Schools Online Sheffield AL
Selecting the ideal radiology tech school is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. You originally came to this website due to an interest in X Ray Technician Schools Online. However, as has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Sheffield AL.
More Diagnostic Locations in Alabama