So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alabaster AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. 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 should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Alabaster AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete 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
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Alabaster AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may 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 exam for the licensing application, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Alabaster AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. 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 Technologist Degrees
As a component of every 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 although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Alabaster AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Alabaster AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations 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 help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Alabaster AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Alabaster AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Alabaster AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Alabaster AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of 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 hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Alabaster AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Alabaster X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Alabaster Alabama.