So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Theodore AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to use 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 elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Theodore AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, 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 comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Theodore AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one 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
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several 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 have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Theodore AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
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 programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Theodore AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals 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 typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Theodore 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 naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged 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 acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Theodore AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Theodore AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Theodore AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Theodore AL home. 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Theodore AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Theodore AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Theodore X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the right x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable 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 a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Theodore Alabama.