So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Spanish Fort AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask 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 provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may 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 performance and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Spanish Fort AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Spanish Fort 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 met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Spanish Fort AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Spanish Fort AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program 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. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Spanish Fort AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Spanish Fort AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Spanish Fort AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Spanish Fort AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Spanish Fort AL schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Spanish Fort AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Spanish Fort X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. 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 pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiographer in Spanish Fort Alabama.