So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bay Minette AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles 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 description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Bay Minette 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 have to maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Bay Minette AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Bay Minette AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often conducted in Bay Minette AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits 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 right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Bay Minette AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find 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 compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Bay Minette AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Bay Minette AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Bay Minette AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Bay Minette AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Bay Minette AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bay Minette AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bay Minette X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the right x-ray technician school is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Bay Minette Alabama.