So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Pleasant Grove AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Pleasant Grove AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Pleasant Grove AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Pleasant Grove AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Pleasant Grove AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than conventional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college 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 an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Pleasant Grove AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Pleasant Grove AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are reviewing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Pleasant Grove AL medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Pleasant Grove AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable 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 choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Pleasant Grove AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Pleasant Grove AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pleasant Grove AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Pleasant Grove Alabama.