So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bessemer AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if 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 evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Bessemer AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned 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 common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Bessemer AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Bessemer AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
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 no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Bessemer AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But 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 style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Bessemer AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Bessemer AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Bessemer AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Bessemer AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Bessemer AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online 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 choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bessemer AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Bessemer X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best radiology tech college is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Bessemer Alabama.