So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Talladega AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential 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 colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Talladega AL hospitals, clinics, 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 have to maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete 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
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Talladega AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification 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 college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number provide additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Talladega AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Talladega AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Talladega AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask 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 put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 gone through an extensive review 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 education. 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance 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 a number of Talladega AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech schools you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Talladega AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Talladega AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement 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 School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Talladega AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Talladega AL schools 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Talladega AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Talladega X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the best x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Talladega Alabama.