So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cullman AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess 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 colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Cullman AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree 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 program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Cullman AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Cullman AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Cullman AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Cullman AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Cullman AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Cullman AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Cullman AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Cullman AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Cullman AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Cullman X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Cullman Alabama.