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Radiologic Tech Programs
 How to Select the Best One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa Alabama x ray technician and physician reviewing x-rayYou are about to start down a career path that will be rewarding both personally and financially as a medical professional when you enroll in an X-ray tech school near Tuscaloosa AL. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And based on where you eventually decide to practice, you may have to pass a licensing test since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed. So it’s important that you compare the colleges you are considering by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each of their X-ray tech programs. To start, one of the important qualifications that many prospective students hone in on when starting their search is how far the schools are from their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. Later in this article we will provide a complete list of questions that you should ask the X-ray Tech programs you are considering prior to making your final selection. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.

It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Begin Your Career in Radiology

Radiology Tech Career Summary

There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with include:

  • Traditional and specialized X-Rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Sonography or ultrasound
  • Fluoroscopy

Radiographers must care for their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.

X-Ray Tech Degree Options

Tuscaloosa Alabama x-ray tech examining x rayThe standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Tuscaloosa AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.

X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing

After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous Tuscaloosa area employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Tuscaloosa AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.

Online Radiology Tech Degrees

Tuscaloosa Alabama woman attending online radiology technician classesAs a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Tuscaloosa AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Tuscaloosa residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 best option for you.

Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools

Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Tuscaloosa AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.

Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Tuscaloosa AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.

Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Tuscaloosa AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Tuscaloosa AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Tuscaloosa AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Tuscaloosa AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech  program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuscaloosa AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More on How to Become an X-Ray Technician in Tuscaloosa

Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa Radiology Tech Program

Choosing the right x-ray tech college is an important first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Tuscaloosa Alabama.




 

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