So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Orange Beach AL in order to become a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can work in Orange Beach AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally takes 18 months to 2 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 comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Orange Beach AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one 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 Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance 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 comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Orange Beach 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 residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally cheaper than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make certain that the online program you pick 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 an online degree may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Orange Beach AL. You will also need to decide if you want 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 secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. 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 often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Orange Beach AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Orange Beach AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Orange Beach AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication 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 many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Orange Beach AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Orange Beach AL colleges you are considering what the average 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 some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Orange Beach X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right radiology tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Orange Beach Alabama.