So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gardendale AL in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should ask if 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 reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Gardendale AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Gardendale AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several accept additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Gardendale AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves 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 fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
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 the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted 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 privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Gardendale AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship 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 need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may 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 school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Gardendale AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Gardendale AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good 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 School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Gardendale AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gardendale AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gardendale AL area, verify 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Gardendale X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive 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 need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Gardendale Alabama.