So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fultondale AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Fultondale AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must take care of their equipment and routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete 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 extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Fultondale AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase 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 rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a part of any 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 earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Fultondale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Fultondale AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools 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 need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of 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 gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Fultondale AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Fultondale AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Fultondale AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Fultondale AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fultondale AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fultondale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Fultondale Alabama.