So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hartselle AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same 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 others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Hartselle AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hartselle AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Hartselle AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Hartselle AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Hartselle AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Hartselle AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Hartselle AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Hartselle AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement 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 substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at what the typical 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 several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Hartselle X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Hartselle Alabama.