So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montgomery AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They can work in Montgomery AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Montgomery AL or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Montgomery AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is typically performed in Montgomery AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate 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 commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with location and cost, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Montgomery AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Montgomery AL health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Montgomery AL in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Montgomery AL home. 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Montgomery AL schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery 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 carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Montgomery X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward initiating a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Montgomery Alabama.