So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Mountain Brook AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Mountain Brook AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Mountain Brook AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Mountain Brook AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Mountain Brook AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician 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 obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Mountain Brook AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Mountain Brook AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program 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 must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Mountain Brook X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Mountain Brook Alabama.