So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Theodore AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation 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, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Theodore AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 frequently 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 prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school 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 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Theodore AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Theodore AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Theodore AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Theodore AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Theodore AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Theodore AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Theodore AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Theodore AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Theodore AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Theodore AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Theodore X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs 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 pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Theodore Alabama.