So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pell City AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work 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 same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize 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 practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Pell City AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and also routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pell City AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Pell City AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Pell City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Pell City AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 superior education, accreditation will also assist 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 Pell City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Pell City AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Pell City AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing 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 confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Pell City AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pell City AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative 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 work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Pell City X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs 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 good work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Pell City Alabama.