How to Become a Radiology Technician near Washington District of Columbia
So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Washington DC in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing examination. So it’s imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifications also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions 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 x-ray technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Job Description in Washington DC
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Washington DC clinics, hospitals, 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 analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Tech Degrees near Washington DC
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Washington DC or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in District of Columbia or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many Washington area employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Washington DC to become certified. ARRT’s certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Washington DC family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your Washington home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Washington DC. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still important to make sure 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies 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 assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Washington DC health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech programs you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Washington DC healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Washington DC in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with District of Columbia healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Washington DC home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Washington DC colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Washington DC area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative 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 might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Considering X-ray Tech School near Washington DC?
If you are considering enrolling in a radiology tech school near Washington DC, following is some interesting background information that may assist you in making your decision to live in that area.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 6,131,977. Washington is described as the political Capital of the World, owing to its status as the seat of the United States Federal Government and numerous international institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
Pick the Ideal Radiology Tech Program near Washington DC
Choosing the ideal x-ray tech school is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Washington DC.
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