So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Foley AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Foley AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 maintain their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of each 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 a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Foley AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Foley AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Foley 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 obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Foley AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Foley AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Foley AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Foley AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Foley AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Foley AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, verify that they are available. 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, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Foley X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your final selection. 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 college so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Foley Alabama.