So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Orange Beach AL so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary 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. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Orange Beach AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Orange Beach AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates 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, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Orange Beach AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a part 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 programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Orange Beach AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. 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 an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Orange Beach AL. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out 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 Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned 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 respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can 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 guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining 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 many Orange Beach AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Orange Beach AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Orange Beach AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Orange Beach AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Orange Beach AL colleges you are reviewing what the average 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 a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Orange Beach X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology technician college is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Orange Beach Alabama.