So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Northport AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to employ 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 work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Northport AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech college 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 common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Northport AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Northport AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component 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 while you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Northport AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Northport AL. You will also have to determine 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 college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when reviewing 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 crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 detailed examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Northport AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Northport AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Northport AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Northport 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 concern. Something to keep 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 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Northport AL colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Northport X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology 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 good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Northport Alabama.