So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meadowbrook AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, 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 provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Meadowbrook AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Meadowbrook AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many accept additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Meadowbrook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
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 no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Meadowbrook AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Meadowbrook AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making 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 Programs Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist 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 many Meadowbrook AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Meadowbrook AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Meadowbrook AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Meadowbrook AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Meadowbrook AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select 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 night or weekend classes in the Meadowbrook AL area, make certain that they are available. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Meadowbrook X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Meadowbrook Alabama.