So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairhope AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not 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 examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles 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 same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Fairhope AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 take care of their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fairhope AL or their region. After 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.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component 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 may enhance your career options in and around Fairhope AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Fairhope AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in 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 best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Fairhope AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers 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 organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fairhope AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Fairhope AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Fairhope AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great 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 pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairhope AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fairhope AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fairhope X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently 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 an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Fairhope Alabama.