So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meadowbrook AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Meadowbrook AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 and routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received 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 complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar 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 curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Meadowbrook AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Meadowbrook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Meadowbrook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in 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 degree may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Meadowbrook AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged 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 securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Meadowbrook AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Meadowbrook AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Meadowbrook AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Meadowbrook AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Meadowbrook AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Meadowbrook AL area, check that they are available. 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Meadowbrook X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Meadowbrook Alabama.