So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairhope AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same 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 elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Fairhope AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 have to maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. 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 typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Fairhope AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Fairhope AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Fairhope AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages 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 ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Fairhope AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship 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 considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fairhope AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Fairhope AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Fairhope AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Fairhope AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairhope AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fairhope X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Fairhope Alabama.