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 go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job function, 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. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example 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 work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Orange Beach AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Orange Beach AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to 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 exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Orange Beach AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make sure 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 style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Orange Beach AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. 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 college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Orange Beach AL health care 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 profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Orange Beach AL residence. Individuals who have opted 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Orange Beach AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Orange Beach AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Orange Beach X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech degree program is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Orange Beach Alabama.