So you have decided 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 go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle picking the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Decatur AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Decatur AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Decatur AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled 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 schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed 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 practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure 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 ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Decatur AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Decatur AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Decatur AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Decatur AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement 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 confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Decatur AL residence. Students who have opted 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Decatur AL colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Decatur X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show 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. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Decatur Alabama.