So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bay Minette AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Bay Minette AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 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 four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Bay Minette AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Bay Minette AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as 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 ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. 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 typically provided in Bay Minette AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you select 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 degree may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Bay Minette AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide 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 must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm 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 undergone an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Bay Minette AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Bay Minette AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Bay Minette AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Bay Minette AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bay Minette AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Bay Minette 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 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bay Minette X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Bay Minette Alabama.