So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gulf Shores AL in order to become a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the ideal college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Gulf Shores AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment plus regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Gulf Shores AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed 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 accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many accept additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Gulf Shores AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Gulf Shores AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than conventional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Gulf Shores AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer 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 price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have received some form 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 agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Gulf Shores AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Gulf Shores AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Gulf Shores AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask 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 a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Gulf Shores AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gulf Shores AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher 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 an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gulf Shores AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Gulf Shores X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the ideal radiology tech college is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel 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 training and your motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Gulf Shores Alabama.