So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Andalusia AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Andalusia AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with 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 and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Andalusia AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to 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 technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire 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 calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Andalusia AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just be sure 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 type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Andalusia AL. You will also need to decide 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 college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Andalusia AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Andalusia AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Andalusia AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Andalusia AL residence. Students 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 concern. One thing 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Andalusia AL schools 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can provide 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 Andalusia AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Andalusia X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist 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 get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements 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. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Andalusia Alabama.