How to Choose the Right Radiology Technician School near Birmingham Alabama
So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Birmingham AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let’s talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description in Birmingham AL
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth 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 Technician Degree Options near Birmingham AL
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be satisfied by participating in an externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Birmingham AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact 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 several offer other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous Birmingham area employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Birmingham AL to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Birmingham AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your Birmingham residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Birmingham AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it’s still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive 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 quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Birmingham AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Birmingham AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Birmingham AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Birmingham 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 area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Birmingham AL schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Birmingham AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an X-ray Tech Program near Birmingham AL?
If you are considering attending a radiologic technologist school near Birmingham AL, following is some interesting background information regarding the location of your future campus that may assist you in making your final decision.
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city located in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.:14
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.
In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. In 1969 it gained the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College. The Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. The city has three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Southeastern Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferences.
Find the Right Radiologic Technologist Education Birmingham AL
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Radiologic Technologist Education. However, as we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Birmingham AL.
More Diagnostic Locations in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 3