So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Theodore AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple 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, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Theodore AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program 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 common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Theodore AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Theodore AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for 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 exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of any 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Theodore AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Theodore AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive 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. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Theodore AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Theodore AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Theodore AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Theodore AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for 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 the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Theodore AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Theodore AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Theodore X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Theodore Alabama.