So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Leeds AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative 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 colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Leeds AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. 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 typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Leeds AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Leeds AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a component of any 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 schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Leeds AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Leeds AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Leeds AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Leeds AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Leeds AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. 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 substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Leeds AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Leeds AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Leeds AL area, make sure 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 carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Leeds X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Leeds Alabama.