So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gardendale AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications 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 must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Gardendale AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending 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 common among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Gardendale AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Gardendale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous 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 Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Gardendale AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges 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 important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired 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 respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations 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 assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Gardendale AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Gardendale AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Gardendale AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Gardendale AL residence. Students who have chosen 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gardendale 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can provide 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 Gardendale AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gardendale X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position 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 patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute 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 proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Gardendale Alabama.