So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montevallo AL in order to learn to be a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifications also. For example, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Montevallo AL clinics, hospitals, private 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 have to take care of their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Montevallo AL or their region. 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.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Montevallo AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Classes
As a component 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 programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Montevallo AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Montevallo AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby 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 factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to make sure 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Montevallo AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician programs you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Montevallo AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Montevallo AL in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out 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 sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Montevallo AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Montevallo AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Montevallo X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the appropriate x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Montevallo Alabama.