So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Irondale AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Irondale AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Irondale AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Irondale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist 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 schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Irondale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Irondale AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges 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 must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Irondale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Irondale AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Irondale AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial 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 number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Irondale AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Irondale AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Irondale X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed 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. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Irondale Alabama.