So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fultondale AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Fultondale AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, 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 as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Fultondale AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification 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 as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Fultondale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Fultondale AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask 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 need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn 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. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Fultondale AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Fultondale AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Fultondale AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Fultondale AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fultondale AL schools 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fultondale AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Fultondale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs 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 good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Fultondale Alabama.