How to Select a Radiology Tech Program near Helena Alabama
Best wishes on your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Helena AL so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it’s imperative that you investigate each of the schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let’s talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, 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 technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Helena AL medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that Helena AL radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in their region. After 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 practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional options for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many Helena AL employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options to become certified. ARRT’s certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a component of any 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 obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in area hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your Helena AL residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating Helena AL x-ray technician colleges. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it’s still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Helena AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the Alabama radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Helena AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Helena AL healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Helena AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Helena AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the x-ray tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in Helena AL, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Radiologic Technologist?When prepping to interview for an X-Ray Tech position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask radiographer applicants is "What drove you to select radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being an X-Ray tech, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to radiography, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent X-Ray tech and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal Radiology Tech School near Helena AL
Picking the appropriate radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Helena AL.
Some Background on Helena Alabama
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 it’s 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.
As the final battles of the Civil War were being fought, the Union forces amassed a force to complete a Calvary raid with the intent to drastically impact the South’s war fighting capability as Sherman’s march had done the previous year. Lead by James Harrison Wilson this force passed through the town of Helena on March 30, 1865 destroying much of the newly developed industry and residential buildings.
More Cities of Interest in Alabama