So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gadsden AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, 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 article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Gadsden AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 also regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Gadsden AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do require 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 examination for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Gadsden AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Gadsden AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Gadsden AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 examination of their instructors and educational 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 organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Gadsden AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gadsden AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Gadsden AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Gadsden AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 decide 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gadsden AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, make certain that they are available. 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Gadsden X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Gadsden Alabama.