So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Northport AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of 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. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Northport AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Northport AL or their area. Once 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Northport AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Northport AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Northport AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Northport AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Northport AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Northport AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering 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 corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Northport AL home. Students who have opted 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Northport AL schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Northport AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Northport X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Northport Alabama.