So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Robertsdale AL in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. 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 homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Robertsdale AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Robertsdale AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Robertsdale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges 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 online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Robertsdale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Robertsdale AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Robertsdale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Robertsdale AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Robertsdale AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Robertsdale AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within 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 hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Robertsdale AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, make certain 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Robertsdale X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority 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 observe the safety requirements designed 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Robertsdale Alabama.