So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Birmingham AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, 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 article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work 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 must take care of their equipment and routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain 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 Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Birmingham AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Birmingham AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Birmingham AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Birmingham AL. You will also need 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 relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies 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 aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Birmingham AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Birmingham AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Birmingham AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Birmingham AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Birmingham Alabama.