So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Huntsville AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are a number of 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, they all have the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Huntsville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Huntsville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Huntsville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed 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 convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased 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 disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Huntsville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Huntsville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Huntsville AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Huntsville AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Huntsville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Huntsville AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Huntsville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Huntsville X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray technician school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Huntsville Alabama.