So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pell City AL in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate 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 typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have 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 may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Pell City AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Pell City AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may 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 require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Pell City AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Pell City AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Pell City AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Pell City AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Pell City AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Pell City AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Pell City AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pell City AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Pell City X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray technician college is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Pell City Alabama.