So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Leeds AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Leeds AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also 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 Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Leeds AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Leeds AL to earn certification. 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 other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college 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. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Leeds AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Leeds AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray technician schools you are assessing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Leeds AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Leeds AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial 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 many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Leeds AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Leeds AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Leeds AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Leeds X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech school is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate 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. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Leeds Alabama.