So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bessemer AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Bessemer AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned 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 prevalent among techs, usually requires 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 four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Bessemer AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Bessemer AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Bessemer AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Bessemer AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Bessemer AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Bessemer AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Bessemer AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Bessemer AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bessemer AL schools you are looking at what the typical 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 several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bessemer X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe 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. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Bessemer Alabama.