So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscaloosa AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
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, each has the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also regularly analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received 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 common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Tuscaloosa AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Tuscaloosa AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often provided in Tuscaloosa AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Tuscaloosa AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Tuscaloosa AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Tuscaloosa AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Tuscaloosa X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Tuscaloosa Alabama.