So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Saraland AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Saraland AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 and also routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally 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 comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Saraland AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Saraland AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although 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. Practical training is usually provided in Saraland AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may 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 much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Saraland AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges 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 assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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 a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Saraland AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Saraland AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Saraland AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Saraland AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Saraland AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Saraland X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Saraland Alabama.