So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bessemer AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same primary 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 administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with 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 and regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students 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 course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Bessemer AL or their area. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase 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 comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Bessemer AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Bessemer AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Bessemer AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Bessemer AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Bessemer AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Bessemer AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Bessemer AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. 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 as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bessemer X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Bessemer Alabama.