So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Northport AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Northport AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and also frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required 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.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for attending 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 prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Northport AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact 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 a number accept additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Northport AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Northport AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Northport AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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 review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Northport AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Northport AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Northport AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools 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 sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Northport AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 be required 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 kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Northport AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, verify that they are available. 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 procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Northport X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the right radiology tech school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Northport Alabama.