So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fultondale AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Fultondale AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fultondale AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer other options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Fultondale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Fultondale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Fultondale AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Fultondale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fultondale AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Fultondale AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Fultondale AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fultondale AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, check that they are offered. 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 might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fultondale X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology tech college is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Fultondale Alabama.