So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tarrant AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Tarrant AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 take care of their equipment plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. 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 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Tarrant AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Tarrant 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 demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Tarrant AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Tarrant 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 college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Tarrant AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Tarrant AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Tarrant AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Tarrant AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tarrant AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt 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 option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Tarrant X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray technician school is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Tarrant Alabama.