So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Saraland AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Saraland AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 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 keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Saraland AL or their region. After you have graduated from any 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.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve 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 exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Saraland AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online school you choose 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 right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Saraland AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Saraland AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Saraland AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Saraland AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Saraland AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Saraland AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Saraland X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right radiology technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Saraland Alabama.