So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meadowbrook AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Meadowbrook AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Meadowbrook AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase 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 rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Meadowbrook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Meadowbrook AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 might also receive 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Meadowbrook AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Meadowbrook AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Meadowbrook AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Meadowbrook AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Meadowbrook AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meadowbrook AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Meadowbrook X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Meadowbrook Alabama.