So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Homewood AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Homewood AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Homewood AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance 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 examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a part 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 colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Homewood AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you select 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 right option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Homewood AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges 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 put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Homewood AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Homewood AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Homewood AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Homewood AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Homewood AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor 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 technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Homewood X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Homewood Alabama.