So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Albertville AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin 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 cost and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Albertville AL hospitals, clinics, 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 must take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of all 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 enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Albertville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Albertville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
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 even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Albertville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Albertville AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Albertville AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Albertville AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Albertville AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Albertville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday 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 comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Albertville Alabama.