So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hueytown AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Hueytown AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Hueytown AL or their area. Once 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 college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements 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 licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Hueytown AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
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 the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Hueytown AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Hueytown AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Hueytown AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Hueytown AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Hueytown AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Hueytown AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Hueytown AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, confirm 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Hueytown X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology 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 comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray 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 good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Hueytown Alabama.