So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Irondale AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries 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 x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, 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 treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Irondale 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 care for their equipment and also frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Irondale AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to 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 college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam 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 voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Irondale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Irondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Irondale AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Irondale AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Irondale AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Irondale AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Irondale AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Irondale AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours 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 Right Irondale X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to 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 appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Irondale Alabama.