How to Select a Radiology Tech School in Alabama
Congratulations regarding your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school in Alabama in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you go about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it’s imperative that you research each of the colleges you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the colleges you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let’s discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Alabama clinics, hospitals, 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Alabama medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that Alabama radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous Alabama employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, Alabama x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in area family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Alabama residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating Alabama x-ray technician schools. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative to make sure 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Alabama health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the Alabama radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Alabama healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Alabama residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Alabama schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Alabama, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Radiology Tech Program in Alabama
Choosing the right radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a x-ray tech in Alabama.