So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Forestdale AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you must ask if 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 evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Forestdale AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete 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
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Forestdale AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Forestdale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Forestdale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online college you pick 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 right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Forestdale AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out 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 decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Forestdale AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Forestdale AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Forestdale AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates 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 driving distance of their Forestdale AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Forestdale AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher 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 talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Forestdale AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Forestdale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines 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. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Forestdale Alabama.