So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Dixiana AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Dixiana AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Dixiana AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Dixiana AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Dixiana AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Dixiana AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges 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 compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Dixiana AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Dixiana AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Dixiana AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Dixiana AL schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Dixiana X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the ideal x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiographer in Dixiana Alabama.