So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Guntersville AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations 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, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 maintain their equipment plus regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 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 four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Guntersville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Guntersville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Guntersville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose 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 online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Guntersville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Guntersville AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Guntersville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Guntersville AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Guntersville AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Guntersville AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Guntersville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Guntersville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Guntersville Alabama.