So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pinson AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation 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 students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Tech 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, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Pinson 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 must take care of their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned 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 techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Pinson AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve 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 rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Pinson AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. 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 formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Pinson AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify 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 gone through a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Pinson AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Pinson AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Pinson AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Pinson AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pinson AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pinson AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Pinson X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Pinson Alabama.