So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Guntersville AL in order to become a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Guntersville AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 care for their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Guntersville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with 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 technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Guntersville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part 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 degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Guntersville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain 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.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Guntersville AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. 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 quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Guntersville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Guntersville AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Guntersville AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Guntersville AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Guntersville AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program 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 need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Guntersville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Guntersville X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best radiology technician school is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Guntersville Alabama.