So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Irondale AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job function, 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 treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Irondale AL hospitals, clinics, 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 take care of their equipment and regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option 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 complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Irondale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Irondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However 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 practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school 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 right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Irondale AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Irondale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Irondale AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Irondale AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. 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 indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Irondale AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to 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 allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Irondale AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Irondale X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times 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 guidelines developed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Irondale Alabama.