So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Andalusia AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Andalusia AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 take care of their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Andalusia AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Andalusia AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Andalusia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Andalusia AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Andalusia AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Andalusia AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Andalusia AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Andalusia AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Andalusia AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Andalusia X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology 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 strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Andalusia Alabama.