So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hoover AL in order to become a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so 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, based on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize 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 work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Hoover AL hospitals, clinics, 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 take care of their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges 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.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many approve additional options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Hoover AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Hoover AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Hoover AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 an extensive review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hoover AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Hoover AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Hoover AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hoover AL schools you are considering what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Hoover X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology technician school is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed 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 must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on 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 choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Hoover Alabama.