So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montgomery AL in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you go about picking the right school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require training 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 evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist 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 regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete 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 expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part 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 Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may 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 exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Colleges
As a component of every 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 schools. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually performed in Montgomery AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Montgomery AL. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online 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 supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Montgomery AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology technician programs you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Montgomery AL healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in Montgomery AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Montgomery AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 keep in mind is that if you choose 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Montgomery AL colleges you are reviewing 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Montgomery X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Montgomery Alabama.