So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Montgomery AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may need training to pass a licensing exam. 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 potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work 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 technician might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical 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 up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Montgomery AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather 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 involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of every 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 colleges. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Montgomery AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less costly than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Montgomery AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Montgomery AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Montgomery AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Montgomery AL in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Montgomery AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Montgomery AL colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Montgomery X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians 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 possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing before making your final selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Montgomery Alabama.