So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hartselle AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Hartselle AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hartselle AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Hartselle AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Hartselle AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Hartselle AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Hartselle AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Hartselle AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Hartselle AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hartselle X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed 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. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hartselle Alabama.