So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gadsden AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Gadsden AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned 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, generally takes 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 four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Gadsden AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Gadsden AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Gadsden AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online program 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 degree may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Gadsden AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools 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 must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program 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 recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Gadsden AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Gadsden AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Gadsden AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Gadsden AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gadsden AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, confirm 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, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Gadsden X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Gadsden Alabama.