So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montevallo AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For example, you should find out 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 evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the same 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 may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Montevallo AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also 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 Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete 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 comprehensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Montevallo AL or their area. Once you have graduated from one 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 Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Montevallo AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical 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 significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Montevallo AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just confirm that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Montevallo AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Montevallo AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are evaluating have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Montevallo AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Montevallo AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Montevallo AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Montevallo AL colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Montevallo X-Ray Tech School
Picking the right radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Montevallo Alabama.