So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hamilton AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice 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. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have 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 might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Hamilton 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 routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon 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 scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary 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 several accept other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Hamilton AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a component of every 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 online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Hamilton AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Hamilton AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school 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 an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Hamilton AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Hamilton AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Hamilton AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Hamilton AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hamilton AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hamilton AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hamilton X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology technician school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing 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 sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hamilton Alabama.