How to Choose the Right X-Ray Tech Program near Helena Alabama
So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Helena AL so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary in Helena AL
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Helena AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might 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 also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options near Helena AL
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Helena AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification 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 technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous Helena area employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Helena AL to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Helena AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your Helena residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages 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 right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Helena AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Helena AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Helena AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Helena AL in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Helena AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Helena AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in an X-ray Tech Program near Helena AL?
If you are considering attending a radiologic technologist school near Helena AL, following is some interesting background information regarding the location of your future campus that may assist you in making your final decision.
Helena (pronunciation hel-LE-nah) is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the state of Alabama. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,793. Helena is highly regarded as a place to live and raise children; Business Week named Helena the 13th "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in 2007. It has the eighth-lowest crime rate per population in the U.S., and the city was ranked in Money magazine's 2007 list of "Best Places to Live: Top 100" in the U.S., placing at number 91. The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award (population 10,001 to 20,000).
Helena initially incorporated in 1877, but reincorporated in 1917 after errors were discovered in the initial incorporation papers. It did not first appear on the U.S. Census until 1920, giving credence to the later date of incorporation.
The initial settlers to Helena, initially named Cove, were veterans of the final campaigns of the War of 1812. Members of Andrew Jackson's army who cut through the brush were attracted to the quiet, peaceful valleys and streams after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. These first settlers were reported to arrive in 1849 and were predated by the Creek Indian tribes who these settlers had battled. By 1856, the Cove post office opened. Shortly thereafter, the settlers changed the name of the town to Hillsboro.
The onset of the Civil War brought the need for the South to increase its manufacturing output and add industrialization where there was none prior. Coal and iron ore mines were dug all throughout the area and the addition of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad infrastructure made Helena a center point for the wartime efforts. Around 1864 a rolling mill was built on Buck Creek, near the rail lines to process the Iron from Selma. Peter Boyle, an engineer for the railroad working on a new line, met and courted Helen Lee. He would name the burgeoning rail station that fed the rolling mill after her and, eventually, changing the town name to Helena.
Find the Right Schools To Become An Xray Technician Helena AL
Picking the best radiology technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Schools To Become An Xray Technician. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Helena AL.
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