How to Find an X-Ray Technician College near Decatur Alabama
Congratulations regarding your career choice to enroll in an x-ray tech school near Decatur AL so you can train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it’s essential that you assess each of the colleges you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other important qualifications also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let’s discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Decatur AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or “CAT” scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As Decatur AL health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 typical among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that Decatur AL radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous Decatur AL employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options to earn certification. ARRT’s certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in local hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your Decatur AL residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating Decatur AL x-ray technician schools. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of xray tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still imperative to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review 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 education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Decatur AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the Alabama radiology technician programs you are evaluating have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Decatur AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing 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 Decatur AL healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Decatur AL home. Students who have chosen 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 importance. One thing to bear 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Decatur AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the x-ray tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in Decatur AL, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Radiology Technician?When getting ready to interview for an X-Ray Tech job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask radiographer prospects is "What compelled you to pick radiography as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming an X-Ray tech, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to radiography, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding X-Ray tech and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Radiology Technician School near Decatur AL
Picking the ideal radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Decatur AL.
Some Background on Decatur Alabama
Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties in the State of Alabama. The city, affectionately known as "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County. The population in 2010 census was 55,683.
Decatur is also the core city of the two-county large Decatur, Alabama Metropolitan Area which had an estimated population of 153,374 in 2013. Combined with the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the two create the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area, of which Decatur is the second largest city.
Like many southern cities in the early 19th century, Decatur's early success was based upon its location along a river. Railroad routes and boating traffic pushed the city to the front of North Alabama's economic atmosphere. The city rapidly grew into a large economic center within the Tennessee Valley and was a hub for travelers and cargo between Nashville and Mobile, as well as Chattanooga and New Orleans. Throughout the 20th century, the city experienced steady growth, but was eclipsed as the regional economic center by the fast-growing Huntsville during the space race. The city now finds its economy heavily based on manufacturing, cargo transit, and hi-tech industries such as General Electric, and the United Launch Alliance.
Initially the area was known as "Rhodes Ferry Landing", named for Dr. Henry W. Rhodes, an early landowner who operated a ferry that crossed the Tennessee River in the 1810s at the present-day location of Rhodes Ferry Park. The city was incorporated as Decatur in 1821. It was named in honor of Stephen Decatur; after he was killed in a duel in 1820, President Monroe directed that the Alabama town be named for him.
In the early 1830s, Decatur was the eastern terminus of the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad, the first railway built west of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1850 the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was incorporated into the Memphis & Charleston Railroad.
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