So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mobile AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation 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, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Mobile AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Mobile AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Mobile AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component 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 programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Mobile AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Mobile AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Mobile AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are assessing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Mobile AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Mobile AL in a new profession can be challenging 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 a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Mobile AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Mobile AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Mobile X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Mobile Alabama.