So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fultondale AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask if 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 article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Fultondale AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges 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 many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fultondale 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 working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Fultondale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though 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. Practical training is typically carried out in Fultondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Fultondale AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fultondale AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fultondale AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Fultondale AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Fultondale AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fultondale AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fultondale X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Fultondale Alabama.