So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Robertsdale AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple 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 same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Robertsdale AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology 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 typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Robertsdale AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several 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 might increase your career options in and around Robertsdale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Robertsdale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Robertsdale AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 gone through a detailed review 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 online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Robertsdale AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Robertsdale AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Robertsdale AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Robertsdale AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Robertsdale AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Robertsdale X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs 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 available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate 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 focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Robertsdale Alabama.