So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairhope AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain 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 work you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer 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 talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Fairhope AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fairhope AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing also. Some 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 have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Fairhope AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Fairhope AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Fairhope AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Fairhope AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Fairhope AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Fairhope AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Fairhope AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class 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 Fairhope AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Fairhope X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling 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 working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social 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 several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Fairhope Alabama.