So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Vestavia Hills AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Job 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, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Vestavia Hills AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option 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 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship 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 any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer additional options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Vestavia Hills AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Vestavia Hills AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Vestavia Hills AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain 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. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Vestavia Hills AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Vestavia Hills AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Vestavia Hills AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Vestavia Hills AL home. 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. One thing 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Vestavia Hills X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech school is a critical first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs 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 pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Vestavia Hills Alabama.