So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Guntersville AL so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job 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, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job description, 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 practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Guntersville AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize 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 frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 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. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Guntersville AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many accept additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Guntersville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Guntersville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make certain that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Guntersville AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes 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 secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to make sure 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 rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Guntersville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Guntersville AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Guntersville AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. 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 indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Guntersville AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Guntersville AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. 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, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Guntersville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician college is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate 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 choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Guntersville Alabama.