So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mountain Brook AL in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Mountain Brook 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 have to maintain their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Mountain Brook AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Mountain Brook AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Mountain Brook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online program you choose 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 online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Mountain Brook AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain 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 guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Mountain Brook AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Mountain Brook AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Mountain Brook AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Mountain Brook X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the ideal x-ray tech school is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Mountain Brook Alabama.