So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Alabaster AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize 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 plus regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Alabaster AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many accept additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Alabaster AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Alabaster AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Alabaster AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Alabaster AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Alabaster AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Alabaster AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Alabaster AL residence. Those 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alabaster AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Alabaster X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Alabaster Alabama.