So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Spanish Fort AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might 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. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are multiple 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 same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Spanish Fort AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer 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. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Spanish Fort AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Spanish Fort AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion 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 continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits 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 ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Spanish Fort AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Spanish Fort AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Spanish Fort AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Spanish Fort AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools 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 substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Spanish Fort AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer 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 average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Spanish Fort AL area, check 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Spanish Fort X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to 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 necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Spanish Fort Alabama.