So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cullman AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Cullman AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 have to care for their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Cullman AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with 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 Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Cullman AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical 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 considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Cullman AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online college you pick 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 online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech schools near Cullman AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might 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 ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Cullman AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Cullman AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? 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 assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Cullman AL home. Those who have chosen 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student 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. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cullman AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, make certain 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Cullman X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Cullman Alabama.