So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Robertsdale AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Robertsdale AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice 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 longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Robertsdale AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Robertsdale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Robertsdale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just confirm 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 formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Robertsdale AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Robertsdale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Robertsdale AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Robertsdale AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Robertsdale AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Robertsdale AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Robertsdale AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Robertsdale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician school is a critical first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Robertsdale Alabama.