So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fultondale AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently 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. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions 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 radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Fultondale AL clinics, hospitals, 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 have to care for their equipment plus routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fultondale AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Fultondale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
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 the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Fultondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Fultondale AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Fultondale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Fultondale AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Fultondale AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance 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 confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Fultondale AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fultondale AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fultondale X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology technician school is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Fultondale Alabama.