So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anchorage AK so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can work in Anchorage AK 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 have to care for their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete 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 attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Anchorage AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Anchorage AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Classes
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 the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Anchorage AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
Once you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Anchorage AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Anchorage AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Anchorage AK health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Anchorage AK in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Individuals who have chosen 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Anchorage AK 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Anchorage X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the appropriate x-ray technician school is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs 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 provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Anchorage Alaska.