So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gadsden AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Gadsden AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 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 expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Gadsden AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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 Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Gadsden AL to become certified. 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 met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Gadsden AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school 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 online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Gadsden AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Gadsden AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gadsden AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Gadsden AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Gadsden AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gadsden AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide 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 offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gadsden X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech college is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Gadsden Alabama.