So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mobile AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training 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 students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Mobile 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 care for their equipment and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Mobile AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Mobile AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Mobile AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Mobile AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Mobile AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Mobile AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Mobile AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Mobile AL home. Individuals 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 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mobile AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Mobile X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide 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 considering prior to 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 analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. 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.