So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Orange Beach AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor 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 radiology technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Orange Beach AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component 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 clinics and hospitals in Orange Beach AL or their region. Once 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Orange Beach AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Orange Beach AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Orange Beach AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid 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 many Orange Beach AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Orange Beach AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Orange Beach AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Orange Beach AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Orange Beach AL schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Orange Beach X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology 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 good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Orange Beach Alabama.