So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Dothan AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Dothan AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Dothan 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 practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Dothan AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a component of any 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 although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Dothan AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Schools
When you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Dothan AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing 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 a number of Dothan AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Dothan AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Dothan AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Dothan AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Dothan AL schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Dothan X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech college is a crucial first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Dothan Alabama.