So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anchorage AK in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They can work in Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The basic requirement for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Anchorage AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but many approve other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Anchorage AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be fulfilled 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 portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
Once you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Anchorage AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Anchorage AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are interested in have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Anchorage AK healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Anchorage AK in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Anchorage AK colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, confirm that they are offered. 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anchorage X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal x-ray technician college is an important first step toward launching a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs frequently stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians 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 pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or commute 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 decision. And with the right education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Anchorage Alaska.