So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hamilton AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Hamilton AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hamilton AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Hamilton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Hamilton AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Hamilton AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Hamilton AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Hamilton AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Hamilton AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Hamilton AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hamilton AL schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hamilton AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hamilton X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines 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 must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Hamilton Alabama.