How to Choose a Radiologic Tech School near Birmingham Alabama
Congratulations regarding your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Birmingham AL in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it’s essential that you assess each of the colleges you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let’s discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Birmingham AL medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college 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 typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that Birmingham AL radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous Birmingham AL employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically provided in area family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your Birmingham AL residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in 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 online classes may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating Birmingham AL x-ray tech colleges. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out 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 assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative to make sure that the school and program 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Birmingham AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the Alabama xray tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Birmingham AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Birmingham AL healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Birmingham AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Birmingham AL colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in Birmingham AL, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Radiology Technician?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask radiographer applicants is "What drove you to choose radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a radiology technician, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to radiography, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional X-Ray tech and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Best Radiology Technician College near Birmingham AL
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Birmingham AL.
Some Background on Birmingham Alabama
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Jefferson County. The city's population was 212,237 in the 2010 United States Census. In the 2010 US Census, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of about 1,128,047, which is approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, former Elyton. It was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and then major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial and railroad transportation center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and railroading. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and 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.
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 its nicknames as The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South. Its major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry. Rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South have been nearby Atlanta and Birmingham. 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 United States and as one of 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. Since that time it has also gained the University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is also home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College. In total, 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 Southeastern Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferences.
Birmingham was founded on June 1, 1871, by the Elyton Land Company, whose investors included cotton planters, bankers and railroad entrepreneurs. It sold lots near the planned crossing of the Alabama & Chattanooga and South & North Alabama railroads, including land formerly a part of the Benjamin P. Worthington plantation. The first business at that crossroads was the trading post and country store operated by Marre and Allen. The site of the railroad crossing was notable for its proximity to nearby deposits of iron ore, coal, and limestone – the three main raw materials used in making steel.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama