So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gadsden AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Gadsden AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with 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 routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed 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 Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Gadsden AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Gadsden AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
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 the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Gadsden AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Gadsden AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online 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 assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Gadsden AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Gadsden AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Gadsden AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Gadsden AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 importance. One thing 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gadsden AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gadsden X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate 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 final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Gadsden Alabama.