So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Huntsville AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions 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 x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Huntsville AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Huntsville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Huntsville 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 can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Huntsville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Huntsville AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to check out 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 selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Huntsville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Huntsville AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Huntsville AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Huntsville AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required 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 don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Huntsville AL schools you are researching what the typical 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 an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Huntsville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Huntsville X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray technician college is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Huntsville Alabama.