So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Spanish Fort AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice 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 looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Spanish Fort AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish 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 select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Spanish Fort AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact 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 alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Spanish Fort AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Spanish Fort AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages 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.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Spanish Fort AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Spanish Fort AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Spanish Fort AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Spanish Fort AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Spanish Fort AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for 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 the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Spanish Fort AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Spanish Fort AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Spanish Fort X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Spanish Fort Alabama.