So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Dothan AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if 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 evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Dothan AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Dothan AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements 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 many approve other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Dothan AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Dothan 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 residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages 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 best choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
When you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin 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 classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover 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 considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Dothan AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Dothan AL health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Dothan AL in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement 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 confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Dothan AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Dothan AL colleges 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dothan X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right radiology technician college is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Dothan Alabama.