So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tarrant AL so you can become a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Tarrant AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might 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 and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Tarrant AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of 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 purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather 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 calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Tarrant AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Tarrant AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Tarrant AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Tarrant AL medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Tarrant AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing 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 great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Tarrant AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tarrant AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tarrant AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Tarrant X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow 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 doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program 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 practice as a X-ray tech in Tarrant Alabama.