So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hamilton AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about picking the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Hamilton AL clinics, hospitals, 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 take care of their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Hamilton AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Hamilton AL to become certified. 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 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Hamilton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. 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 structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Hamilton AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hamilton AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have associations with area 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 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 assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Hamilton AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Hamilton AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hamilton AL colleges you are considering 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hamilton AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hamilton X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician college is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hamilton Alabama.