So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montevallo AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Montevallo AL hospitals, clinics, 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 maintain their equipment and also regularly evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Montevallo AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve additional options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Montevallo AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. 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 Technician Classes
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical 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 online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually conducted in Montevallo AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Montevallo AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged 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 aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Montevallo AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Montevallo AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Montevallo AL in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Montevallo AL home. Students who have chosen 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 keep 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 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 for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Montevallo AL colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montevallo AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Montevallo X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology technician college is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Montevallo Alabama.