So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tarrant AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Tarrant AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed 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 Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college 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 prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tarrant AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer additional alternatives 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, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Tarrant AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Tarrant AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Tarrant AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Tarrant AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Tarrant AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Tarrant AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Tarrant AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tarrant AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College 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 especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tarrant AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Tarrant X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology tech school is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Tarrant Alabama.