So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Albertville AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Albertville AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed 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 Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned 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 typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Albertville AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase 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 rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Albertville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in 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 an online school may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Albertville AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Albertville AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Albertville AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Albertville AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Albertville AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Albertville AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Albertville X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Albertville Alabama.