So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hoover AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Hoover AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected 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 Available
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hoover AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase 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 comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
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 even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Hoover AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Hoover AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Hoover AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Hoover AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Hoover AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick 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 trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hoover AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hoover X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Hoover Alabama.