So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pell City AL so you can become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should 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 evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Pell City AL hospitals, clinics, 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 must care for their equipment and also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete 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 Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time 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 related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pell City AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Pell City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Pell City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just be sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Pell City 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 obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Pell City AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Pell City AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Pell City AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement 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 corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Pell City AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pell City AL schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student 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 a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Pell City X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray technician school is an important first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to 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 doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Pell City Alabama.