So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Trussville AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same major job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Trussville AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete 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 expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Trussville 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 working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending 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. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Trussville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. 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 internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Trussville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make certain 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 formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Trussville AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor 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 must ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Trussville AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are assessing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Trussville AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Trussville AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great 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 pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Trussville AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Trussville AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Trussville X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal radiology tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been covered 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 decide on an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Trussville Alabama.