So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Daphne AL so you can become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Daphne AL clinics, hospitals, 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 must maintain their equipment and regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Daphne AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Daphne AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often conducted in Daphne AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Daphne AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have received 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 agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Daphne AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Daphne AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Daphne AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering 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 corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Daphne AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Daphne AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Daphne X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech college is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Daphne Alabama.