So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairhope AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Fairhope AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, 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 4 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 also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fairhope AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Fairhope AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Fairhope AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Fairhope AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Fairhope AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fairhope AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Fairhope AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs 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 large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Fairhope AL home. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. One thing to keep 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller 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 teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fairhope X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Fairhope Alabama.