So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscaloosa AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. 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 looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career 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. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tuscaloosa AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
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 mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Tuscaloosa AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining 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 options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose 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 online classes may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Tuscaloosa AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Tuscaloosa AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Tuscaloosa AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Tuscaloosa AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL residence. Those who have chosen 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate 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 Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tuscaloosa X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Tuscaloosa Alabama.