So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mountain Brook AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the right 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 techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Mountain Brook AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Mountain Brook AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Mountain Brook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Mountain Brook AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Mountain Brook AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Mountain Brook AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Mountain Brook AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Mountain Brook AL residence. Those who have decided 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 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Mountain Brook X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide 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 before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Mountain Brook Alabama.