So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Anchorage AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have chosen to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you go about choosing the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with 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 plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have attained 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 techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Anchorage AK or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several offer other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might enhance your career options in and around Anchorage AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often performed in Anchorage AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can 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 type of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
When you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Anchorage AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Anchorage AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Anchorage AK healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Anchorage AK in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Anchorage AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Anchorage AK colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the xray tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anchorage AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the appropriate radiology technician school is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with 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 radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Anchorage Alaska.