So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Monroeville AL so you can become a radiology technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges 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 qualifications also. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Monroeville AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school 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 common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Monroeville AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Monroeville AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for 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 met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Monroeville AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Monroeville AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available 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 college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the radiology tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent 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 may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Monroeville AL healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Monroeville AL in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Monroeville AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Monroeville AL colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Monroeville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Monroeville X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiographer in Monroeville Alabama.