So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pinson AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of 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, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Pinson AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance 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.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program 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 technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pinson AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. 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 might enhance your career options in and around Pinson 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 two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges 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 fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Pinson AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school 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 school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Pinson AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Pinson AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Pinson AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Pinson AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Pinson AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pinson AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pinson AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Pinson X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Pinson Alabama.