So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hartselle AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Hartselle AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Hartselle AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one 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.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Hartselle AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
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 colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Hartselle AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online college you select 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 school may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Hartselle AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation 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 guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hartselle AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Hartselle AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Hartselle AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. 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, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hartselle X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hartselle Alabama.