So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Roanoke AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Roanoke AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 care for their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Roanoke AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Roanoke AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
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 the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Roanoke AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Roanoke AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Roanoke AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Roanoke AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Roanoke AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Roanoke AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Roanoke AL schools you are researching 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Roanoke AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Roanoke X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Roanoke Alabama.