So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pelham AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Pelham AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may 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 frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Pelham AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites 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 approve other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Pelham AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of any 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 large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically provided in Pelham AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Pelham AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn 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 superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Pelham AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Pelham AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Pelham AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large 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 lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pelham AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask 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 Right Pelham X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal radiology technician college is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability 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 technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Pelham Alabama.