So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Foley AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
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. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize 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. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Foley AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Foley AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Foley AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
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 the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Foley AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Foley AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Foley AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Foley AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Foley AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Foley AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 decide 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Foley AL colleges you are considering what the average 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 some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Foley X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Foley Alabama.