So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Helena AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Helena 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Helena AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Helena AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a part of any 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Helena AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain 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 formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Helena AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Helena AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Helena AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Helena AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Helena AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously 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 keep 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Helena AL schools you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Helena X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray 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 productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Helena Alabama.