So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montevallo AL in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Montevallo AL hospitals, clinics, 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 care for their equipment plus routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Montevallo AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing 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 technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Montevallo AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Montevallo 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 residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online school 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 online classes may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Montevallo AL. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Montevallo AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician schools you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means 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 healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Montevallo AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Montevallo AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Montevallo AL colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Montevallo X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician college is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines 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 good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Montevallo Alabama.