So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscaloosa AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 must take care of their equipment plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tuscaloosa AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Tuscaloosa AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn 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 Tuscaloosa AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Tuscaloosa AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it might also earn 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. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Tuscaloosa AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Tuscaloosa Alabama.