So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Monroeville AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Monroeville AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete 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 scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Monroeville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be working you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Monroeville AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical 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. Practical training is often carried out in Monroeville AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
Once you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Monroeville AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized 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 securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Monroeville AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Monroeville AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Monroeville AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Monroeville AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Monroeville AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Monroeville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Monroeville X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Monroeville Alabama.