So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mountain Brook AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you should find out if 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 article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Mountain Brook AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Mountain Brook AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Mountain Brook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Mountain Brook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Mountain Brook AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor 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 schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can 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 ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech programs you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Mountain Brook AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Mountain Brook AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Mountain Brook AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Mountain Brook X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology 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 close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Mountain Brook Alabama.