So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Albertville AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen 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 professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Albertville AL clinics, hospitals, 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 must take care of their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Albertville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Albertville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of every 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 although 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. Practical training is typically performed in Albertville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Albertville AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Albertville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Albertville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Albertville AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask 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 great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Albertville AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Albertville X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal radiology technician college is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements 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 interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Albertville Alabama.