So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pelham AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Pelham AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional 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 can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Pelham AL or their region. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Pelham 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 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Pelham AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Pelham AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies 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 assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Pelham AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Pelham AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Pelham AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools 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 substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pelham AL schools you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Pelham X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a crucial 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 typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Pelham Alabama.