So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hueytown AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Hueytown AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school 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 common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Hueytown AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Hueytown AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Hueytown AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Hueytown AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 evaluation 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 distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hueytown AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Hueytown AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Hueytown AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Hueytown AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hueytown AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
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 essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, make sure that they are offered. 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hueytown X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict 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. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Hueytown Alabama.