So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Albertville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Albertville AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Albertville AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Albertville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Albertville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Albertville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more 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 uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Albertville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Albertville AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Albertville AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large 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 college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Albertville AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Albertville X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Albertville Alabama.