So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Foley AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may work 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 must care for their equipment plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep 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 Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school 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 common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on 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. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Foley AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Foley AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled 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 schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Foley AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive 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 variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Foley AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Foley AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Foley AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Foley AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? 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 undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Foley AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Foley X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with 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. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Foley Alabama.