So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Attalla AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal college 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 techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, 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 post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Attalla AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Attalla AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Attalla AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually provided in Attalla 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 home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Attalla AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Attalla AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Attalla AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Attalla AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Attalla AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Attalla AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Attalla AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Attalla X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal radiology technician school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Attalla Alabama.