So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Irondale AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). 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 description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Irondale AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Irondale AL or their area. After you have graduated from one 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 Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance 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 rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Irondale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Irondale AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online 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 ancillary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of 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 gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations 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 assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Irondale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Irondale AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Irondale AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement 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 confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Irondale AL home. Individuals who have chosen 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 importance. Something to bear 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Irondale AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Irondale AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need 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.
Choose the Best Irondale X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray 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 productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Irondale Alabama.