So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Dixiana AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Dixiana AL clinics, hospitals, family 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 have to maintain their equipment and routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils 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 two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Dixiana AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Dixiana AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. 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 school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Dixiana AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Dixiana AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may 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 superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Dixiana AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Dixiana AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Dixiana AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask 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 indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Dixiana AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Dixiana AL colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dixiana X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology tech college is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Dixiana Alabama.