So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Huntsville AL in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing 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 x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer 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 explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Huntsville AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 also regularly analyze 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.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Huntsville AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Huntsville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Huntsville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Huntsville AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Huntsville AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Huntsville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Huntsville AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Huntsville AL home. Individuals who have decided 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Huntsville AL schools you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Huntsville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Huntsville X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the ideal x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians 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 pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Huntsville Alabama.