So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Birmingham AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might 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 evaluate each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Birmingham AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 plus regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain 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 Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in 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 Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Birmingham AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Birmingham AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. 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 fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Birmingham AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Birmingham AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Birmingham AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Birmingham AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Birmingham AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Birmingham AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Birmingham AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician school is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Birmingham Alabama.