So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Decatur AL in order to train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ 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. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Decatur AL hospitals, clinics, private 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 must care for their equipment plus regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Decatur AL or 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 practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Decatur AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Decatur AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online college you pick 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 an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Decatur AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies 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 obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Decatur AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Decatur AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Decatur AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Decatur AL home. Students who have opted 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Decatur 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Decatur X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Decatur Alabama.