So you have decided 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 chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most potential 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 lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance 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 utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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 technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Hartselle AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Hartselle AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
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 the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually provided in Hartselle AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less costly than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Hartselle AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Hartselle AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Hartselle AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Hartselle AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication 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 many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Hartselle X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right radiology tech school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Hartselle Alabama.