So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Forestdale AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you need to 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 examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Forestdale 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 have to care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students 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 two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Forestdale AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary 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 purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Forestdale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Forestdale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Forestdale AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Forestdale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Forestdale AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Forestdale AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer 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 large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Forestdale AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Forestdale AL schools you are researching what the average 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Forestdale AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask 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 School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Forestdale Alabama.