So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pleasant Grove AL so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective 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. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Pleasant Grove AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 have to care for their equipment plus regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each 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 standard requirement for attending a radiology tech school 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 common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pleasant Grove AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Pleasant Grove AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Pleasant Grove AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Pleasant Grove AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local 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 an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the school and program 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Pleasant Grove AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Pleasant Grove AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Pleasant Grove AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Pleasant Grove AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Pleasant Grove X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the right radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Pleasant Grove Alabama.