So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anchorage AK so you can train to be a radiology technician. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are other critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may work in Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Anchorage AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Anchorage AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain 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 Anchorage AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Anchorage AK. You will also have to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Anchorage AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are interested in have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Anchorage AK healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Anchorage AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Anchorage AK residence. Those who have chosen 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Anchorage AK colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt 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 attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the ideal x-ray technician school is an important first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to 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. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Anchorage Alaska.