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 chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should 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 credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal 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 choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Alabaster 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 have to take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools 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 certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Alabaster 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 ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part 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 even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Alabaster AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Alabaster AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating colleges? 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 crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Alabaster AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are assessing have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Alabaster AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Alabaster AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools 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 large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alabaster AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Alabaster X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Alabaster Alabama.