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 technician. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are other critical qualifiers also. For example, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Orange Beach AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment and also routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally 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.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Orange Beach AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve other options for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Orange Beach AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Orange Beach AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make certain that the online program 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 online classes may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Orange Beach AL. You will also have to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally 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 look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Orange Beach AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Orange Beach AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Orange Beach AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly 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 Orange Beach AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Orange Beach AL schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Orange Beach X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs 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 care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Orange Beach Alabama.