So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pleasant Grove AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask 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 presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as 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 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 frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, 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 four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals 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 requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Pleasant Grove AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Pleasant Grove AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Pleasant Grove AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Pleasant Grove AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Pleasant Grove AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Pleasant Grove AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Pleasant Grove Alabama.