So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montgomery AL in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about selecting the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifications also. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Montgomery AL clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize 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 plus frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Montgomery AL or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing also. Some 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 have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Montgomery AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Montgomery AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Montgomery AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable also. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure 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 undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Montgomery AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Montgomery AL health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Montgomery AL in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Montgomery AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Montgomery AL schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. 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 Right Montgomery X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the best radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Montgomery Alabama.