So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Cullman AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose 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 technician may work with 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 regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain 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 Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Cullman AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Cullman AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Cullman AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Cullman AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Cullman AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Cullman AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Cullman AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement 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 students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Cullman AL home. Students who have opted 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 importance. One thing to bear 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort 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. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Cullman AL colleges you are researching 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Cullman X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward starting a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Cullman Alabama.