So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Homewood AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Homewood AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Homewood AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Homewood AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually provided in Homewood AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Homewood AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Homewood AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Homewood AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Homewood AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask 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 a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Homewood AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Homewood AL colleges you are researching 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 a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Homewood X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best radiology tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict 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 doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Homewood Alabama.