So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gulf Shores AL so you can train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into account, there are other important qualifications as well. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Gulf Shores AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might 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 analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected 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 Technician Degree Options
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program 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 prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Gulf Shores AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve additional options for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Gulf Shores AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part 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 schools. So while you can still earn your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Gulf Shores AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Gulf Shores AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to verify 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Gulf Shores AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Gulf Shores AL medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in Gulf Shores AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Gulf Shores AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gulf Shores AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gulf Shores AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Gulf Shores X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close 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 techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Gulf Shores Alabama.