So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gardendale AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as 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 have to maintain their equipment and also frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required 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.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Gardendale AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Gardendale AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
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 the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Gardendale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Gardendale AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Gardendale AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Gardendale AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Gardendale AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Gardendale AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gardendale AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gardendale 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 courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gardendale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Gardendale Alabama.