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 radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice 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 in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use 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 opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Gulf Shores AL hospitals, clinics, 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 and also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Gulf Shores AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements 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 school, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Gulf Shores AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Gulf Shores AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. 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 formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Gulf Shores AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Gulf Shores AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Gulf Shores AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Gulf Shores AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Gulf Shores AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gulf Shores AL colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gulf Shores AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gulf Shores X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the right radiology technician school is an important first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Gulf Shores Alabama.