So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Leeds AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Leeds 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 must maintain their equipment plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required 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 Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Leeds AL or their region. After 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.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Leeds AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component of every 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Leeds AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you pick 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 online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Leeds AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Leeds AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Leeds AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Leeds AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Leeds AL home. Those who have opted 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Leeds AL schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Leeds AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Leeds X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs 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 productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Leeds Alabama.