So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Robertsdale AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Robertsdale AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Robertsdale AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Robertsdale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied 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 practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Robertsdale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Robertsdale AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Robertsdale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Robertsdale AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Robertsdale AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Robertsdale AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Robertsdale AL schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Robertsdale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate 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. X-Ray techs 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 deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Robertsdale Alabama.