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 technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Hamilton AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received 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 complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Hamilton AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Hamilton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Hamilton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Hamilton AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hamilton AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Hamilton AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Hamilton AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Hamilton AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need 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 are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hamilton AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hamilton AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Hamilton X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hamilton Alabama.