So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Decatur AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically 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 have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Decatur AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received 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 prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Decatur AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Decatur AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Decatur AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally less costly than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Decatur AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Decatur AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Decatur AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Decatur AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Decatur AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Decatur AL colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Decatur X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech college is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Decatur Alabama.