So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Roanoke AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Roanoke AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Roanoke AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements 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 a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Roanoke AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Roanoke AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure 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.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Roanoke AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Roanoke AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Roanoke AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Roanoke AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Roanoke AL residence. 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Roanoke AL colleges you are researching 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Roanoke AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Roanoke X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Roanoke Alabama.