So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Leeds AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Leeds AL hospitals, clinics, 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 must maintain their equipment plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Leeds AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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 Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Leeds AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Leeds AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Leeds AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Leeds AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Leeds AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Leeds AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Leeds AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Leeds AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Leeds AL area, confirm 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Leeds X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. 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 pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Leeds Alabama.