So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Birmingham AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might 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 so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use 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. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received 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 technicians, 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 up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something 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 participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Birmingham AL or their region. After 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.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending 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 check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Birmingham AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Birmingham AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Birmingham AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Birmingham AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Birmingham AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Birmingham AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing 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 good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Birmingham AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Birmingham AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Birmingham X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal 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 report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Birmingham Alabama.