So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montgomery AL so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Montgomery AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 plus routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Montgomery AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Montgomery 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 demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Montgomery AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to education is much more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Montgomery AL. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school 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 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 assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Montgomery AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Montgomery AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Montgomery AL in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Montgomery AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Montgomery AL schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate 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 as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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 might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Montgomery X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs 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 patient care. As has been discussed in this post, 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 enroll 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 focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Montgomery Alabama.