So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Trussville AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Trussville AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 take care of their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time 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 other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Trussville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Trussville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Trussville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Trussville AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Trussville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Trussville AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Trussville AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good 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 many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Trussville AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Trussville AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Trussville X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Trussville Alabama.