So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Saraland AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Saraland AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected 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.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite 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 technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Saraland AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Saraland AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
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 amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Saraland AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Saraland AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm 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 undergone a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Saraland AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Saraland AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Saraland AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Saraland AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Saraland AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Saraland X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Saraland Alabama.