So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Northport AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Northport AL hospitals, clinics, 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 must take care of their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain 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 Tech Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option 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 finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Northport AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Northport AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in Northport AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can 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 motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Northport AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program 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 acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Northport AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Northport AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Northport AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success 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 graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Northport AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Northport AL colleges you are looking at what the average 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Northport X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Northport Alabama.