So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tarrant AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice 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 must take care of their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain in-depth 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 attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tarrant AL or their region. Once 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
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous 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 requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
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 colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Tarrant AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Tarrant AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their instructors and course 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 agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Tarrant AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech programs you are assessing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Tarrant 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 finding that first job in Tarrant AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Tarrant AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tarrant AL schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tarrant AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Tarrant X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right x-ray tech college is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Tarrant Alabama.