So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Albertville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare 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 typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Albertville AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Albertville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Albertville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Albertville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Albertville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can 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. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Albertville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Albertville AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Albertville AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large 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 likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Albertville AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Albertville X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is an important first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Albertville Alabama.