So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alabaster AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must find out 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 post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and regularly assess its functionality 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
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Alabaster AL or their area. After 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.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Alabaster AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for 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 exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Alabaster AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Alabaster AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have obtained some type 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 a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Alabaster AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Alabaster AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Alabaster AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster 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 local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alabaster AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Alabaster X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate radiology technician college is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Alabaster Alabama.