So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Forestdale AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Forestdale AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 maintain their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep 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 Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Forestdale AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase 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 rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Forestdale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Forestdale AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Forestdale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Forestdale AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Forestdale AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need 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 local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Forestdale AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Forestdale AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Forestdale X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right radiology technician school is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Forestdale Alabama.