So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gardendale AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately 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 evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out 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 article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Description
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. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Gardendale AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Gardendale AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Gardendale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of any 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 programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Gardendale AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in 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 an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Gardendale AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Gardendale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gardendale AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Gardendale AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Gardendale AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gardendale AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gardendale AL area, check that they are available. 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gardendale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. 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 good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Gardendale Alabama.