So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pleasant Grove AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should 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 examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose 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 specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize 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 assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Pleasant Grove AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Pleasant Grove AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Pleasant Grove AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Pleasant Grove AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. 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 college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Pleasant Grove AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Pleasant Grove AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Pleasant Grove AL home. Individuals who have decided 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL colleges you are considering 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Pleasant Grove X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed 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. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Pleasant Grove Alabama.