So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscaloosa AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about choosing the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to 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 considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Tuscaloosa AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 must take care of their equipment and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained 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 typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Tuscaloosa AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to 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 involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Tuscaloosa AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain 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 online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Tuscaloosa AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Tuscaloosa AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Tuscaloosa AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication 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 Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, make sure 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 carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Tuscaloosa X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe 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. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Tuscaloosa Alabama.