So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gadsden AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, 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 evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Gadsden AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with 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 frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. 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 any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Gadsden AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Gadsden AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Gadsden 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 obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school 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 assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program 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 acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Gadsden AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Gadsden AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Gadsden AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech 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 confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Gadsden AL residence. Students who have decided 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gadsden AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gadsden X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Gadsden Alabama.