So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pelham AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving 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 consideration, there are additional important qualifiers 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize 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 opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Pelham AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. 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 techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pelham AL or their area. Once 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 working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire 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 calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Pelham AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Pelham AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Pelham AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Pelham AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Pelham AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Pelham AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have 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 don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pelham AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Pelham X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling 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 working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Pelham Alabama.