So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Andalusia AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Andalusia AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Andalusia AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any 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
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Andalusia AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Andalusia AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Andalusia AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive 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. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Andalusia AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Andalusia AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Andalusia AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Andalusia AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized 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 want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Andalusia AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours 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 emergencies.
Choose the Best Andalusia X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Andalusia Alabama.