So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cullman AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering 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 compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal 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 administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Cullman AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required 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 Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Cullman AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Cullman AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Cullman AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make 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 formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Cullman AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Cullman AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Cullman AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Cullman AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Cullman AL home. Those 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cullman AL schools 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can offer 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 Cullman AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Cullman X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech school is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Cullman Alabama.