So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Demopolis AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you should 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 reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Demopolis AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned 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 common among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Demopolis AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Demopolis AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Demopolis AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally more affordable than conventional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Demopolis AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask 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 colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Demopolis AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Demopolis AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Demopolis AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Demopolis AL home. Students who have chosen 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Demopolis AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Demopolis AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Demopolis X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician college is an important first step toward beginning a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your final selection. 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 examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Demopolis Alabama.