So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montevallo AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the right college and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Montevallo AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and also routinely 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 Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Montevallo AL or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve additional options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Montevallo AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist 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 colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically performed in Montevallo AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make sure 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 formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Montevallo AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to confirm 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Montevallo AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech programs you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Montevallo AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Montevallo AL in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign 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 College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Montevallo AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Montevallo AL schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Montevallo X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to 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 radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Montevallo Alabama.