So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Andalusia AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Andalusia AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Andalusia AL or their area. Once 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 working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements 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 exam for the licensing application, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Andalusia AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical 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 fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Andalusia AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Andalusia AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Andalusia AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray tech programs you are assessing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Andalusia AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Andalusia AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Andalusia AL home. 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 local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Andalusia AL colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Andalusia X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right radiology technician school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Andalusia Alabama.