So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Vestavia Hills AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Vestavia Hills 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 maintain their equipment plus regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Vestavia Hills AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements 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 accept additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Vestavia Hills AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Vestavia Hills AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Vestavia Hills AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type 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 regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary 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 provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Vestavia Hills AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Vestavia Hills AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Vestavia Hills X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Vestavia Hills Alabama.