So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pinson AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out if 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 examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Pinson AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 plus routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of all 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 basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Pinson AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check 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 offer additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Pinson AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a part 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 although you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Pinson AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Pinson AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing 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 essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies 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 often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Pinson AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Pinson AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Pinson AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering 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 well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Pinson AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pinson AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some 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 xray tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pinson AL area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Pinson X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians 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 productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Pinson Alabama.