So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hoover AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Hoover AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Hoover AL or their area. 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 working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Hoover AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Hoover AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Hoover AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hoover AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are evaluating have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Hoover AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Hoover AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial 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 many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 likes to sit far in the back 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 Hoover AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hoover X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed 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. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Hoover Alabama.