So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Monroeville AL so you can become a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering 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 residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you must 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 considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, 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 technologist 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 plus frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required 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 Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained 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 prevalent among techs, generally requires 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 finish and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Monroeville AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might 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 rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is often performed in Monroeville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Monroeville AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Monroeville AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Monroeville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Monroeville AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Monroeville AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Monroeville AL colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Monroeville AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Monroeville X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician degree program is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability 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 technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Monroeville Alabama.