How to Select a Radiology Tech Program near Oxford Alabama
Congratulations regarding your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Oxford AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the colleges you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let’s discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Oxford AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Oxford AL medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school 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 common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that Oxford AL radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure 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. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous Oxford AL employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a component 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 colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in regional hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your Oxford AL residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school 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 online classes may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating Oxford AL x-ray technician schools. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Oxford AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the Alabama xray tech programs you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Oxford AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Oxford AL healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Oxford AL residence. Students 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 don’t reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Oxford AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the x-ray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the x-ray tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Oxford AL, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Why Did You Choose to Become an X-Ray Tech?When preparing to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask radiographer applicants is "What compelled you to choose radiography as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming an Xray technician, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to radiography, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding X-Ray tech and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Radiology Tech School near Oxford AL
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a x-ray tech in Oxford AL.
Some Background on Oxford Alabama
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.0 square miles (80.3 km2), of which 30.7 square miles (79.4 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 1.07%, is water.
Oxford lies among the foothills at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby Cheaha Mountain is Alabama's highest point and offers expansive views of the surrounding wilderness and the city below. Much of the city's southern border is shared with the Talladega National Forest.
Major bodies of water include Oxford Lake, Lake Hillabee, Snows Creek and Choccolocco Creek, which bisects the city.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
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