So you have decided 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 rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Mountain Brook AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor 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 abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Mountain Brook AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
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 although you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Mountain Brook AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just confirm 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 right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Mountain Brook AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Mountain Brook AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Mountain Brook AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
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 profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Mountain Brook AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mountain Brook AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Mountain Brook X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing 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 right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Mountain Brook Alabama.