So you have decided 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 rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important 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 driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Alabaster AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for 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 may enhance 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 exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Alabaster AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Alabaster AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose 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 along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Alabaster AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Alabaster AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Alabaster AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Alabaster AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Alabaster AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, check 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Alabaster X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology technician school is a critical first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Alabaster Alabama.