So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Vestavia Hills AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles 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 identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain complete 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 basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Vestavia Hills AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Vestavia Hills AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Vestavia Hills AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations 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 help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have associations with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Vestavia Hills AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Vestavia Hills AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Vestavia Hills AL home. Individuals who have chosen 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 even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL colleges you are reviewing 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 a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Vestavia Hills X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed 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. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Vestavia Hills Alabama.