So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Theodore AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Theodore AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must care for their equipment plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Theodore AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase 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 comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Theodore AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Theodore AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance 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 many Theodore AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Theodore AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Theodore AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Theodore AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Theodore AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Theodore AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Theodore X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech school is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Theodore Alabama.