So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pleasant Grove AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Pleasant Grove AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may 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 analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Pleasant Grove AL or their region. After you have graduated from one 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.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Pleasant Grove AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as 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 examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically conducted in Pleasant Grove AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Pleasant Grove AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer 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 critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations 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 assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Pleasant Grove AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Pleasant Grove AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Pleasant Grove AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Pleasant Grove AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Pleasant Grove X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed 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 social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Pleasant Grove Alabama.