So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gulf Shores AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same principal job function, 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 treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Gulf Shores AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Gulf Shores AL or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Gulf Shores AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of any 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 although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Gulf Shores AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make certain that the online program you choose 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 online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Gulf Shores AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Gulf Shores AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gulf Shores AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Gulf Shores AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success 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 substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Gulf Shores AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Gulf Shores AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gulf Shores X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Gulf Shores Alabama.