So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pelham AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work 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 tech 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 care for their equipment plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained 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 techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Pelham AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide other options for testing also. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance 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 other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Pelham AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Pelham AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute 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 a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Pelham AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Pelham AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Pelham AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pelham AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Pelham X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Pelham Alabama.