So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Northport AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may 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 in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Northport 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 have to take care of their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Northport AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Northport AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Northport AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Northport AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Northport AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Northport AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Northport AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Northport AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Northport 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Northport X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the ideal x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Northport Alabama.