So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bessemer AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics, 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 care for their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon 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 scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Bessemer AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Bessemer AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Bessemer AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Bessemer AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. 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 Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Bessemer AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Bessemer AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Bessemer 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. 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 be required 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bessemer AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Bessemer X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly 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 close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Bessemer Alabama.