How to Select an Xray Tech School near Northport Alabama
Congratulations regarding your decision to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Northport AL in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let’s talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Northport AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with 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 also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As Northport AL medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending 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 or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that Northport AL radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many Northport AL employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part 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 schools. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often carried out in regional hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your Northport AL home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating Northport AL x-ray tech schools. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Northport AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the Alabama xray technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Northport AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Northport AL healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Northport AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Northport AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in Northport AL, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Become an X-Ray Tech?When getting ready to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask radiographer prospects is "What made you decide on radiography as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a radiology technician, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to radiography, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent X-Ray tech and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Radiology Tech School near Northport AL
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician school is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Northport AL.
Some Background on Northport Alabama
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.9 square miles (39 km2), of which 14.6 square miles (38 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.48%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,844 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.98.
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