So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Dothan AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work 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 evaluate each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Dothan AL hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually 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 comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Dothan AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Dothan AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Dothan AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Dothan AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out 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? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Dothan AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Dothan AL healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Dothan AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Dothan AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 generally 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 person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Dothan AL schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Dothan X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal radiology technician school is a crucial first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Dothan Alabama.