So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mobile AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may 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 maintain their equipment plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice 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 depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Mobile AL or their area. Once 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.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Mobile AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist 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 colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Mobile AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Mobile AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Mobile AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Mobile AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Mobile AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Mobile AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class 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 Mobile AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Mobile X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant 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 program you are looking at before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Mobile Alabama.