So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Andalusia AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training 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. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional titles 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. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Andalusia AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Andalusia AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Andalusia AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of any 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 schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Andalusia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Andalusia AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Andalusia AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Andalusia AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Andalusia AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Andalusia AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Andalusia AL colleges you are looking at 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 an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option 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 may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Andalusia X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Andalusia Alabama.