So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hartselle AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Hartselle 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 take care of their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete 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 comprehensive in scope. Most students opt for 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 frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hartselle AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Hartselle AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of any 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 although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Hartselle AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Hartselle AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Hartselle AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Hartselle AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Hartselle AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hartselle AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Hartselle X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Hartselle Alabama.