So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hoover AL in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Hoover AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. 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, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Hoover AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in 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 have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Hoover AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Hoover 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 home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Hoover AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may 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 guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Hoover AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Hoover AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Hoover AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hoover AL schools you are reviewing 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hoover X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate radiology technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Hoover Alabama.