So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hoover AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Hoover AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with 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 and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hoover AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Hoover AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Hoover 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 home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Programs
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Hoover AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Hoover AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Hoover AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Hoover AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Hoover AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit 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 classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hoover X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Hoover Alabama.