So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Irondale AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if 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 reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Irondale AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain 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 Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Irondale AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require 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. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Irondale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Irondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Irondale AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial 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 Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Irondale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Irondale AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Irondale AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing 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 highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Irondale AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Irondale AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Irondale X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians 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 pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or commute 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 reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Irondale Alabama.