So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Brook Highland AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Brook Highland AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 take care of their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each 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 standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Brook Highland AL or their area. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Brook Highland AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Brook Highland AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Brook Highland AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute 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 expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain 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. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Brook Highland AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Brook Highland AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Brook Highland AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Brook Highland AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Brook Highland AL schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Brook Highland AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Brook Highland X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your final 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 analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Brook Highland Alabama.