So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bethel AK so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake selecting the ideal school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may work in Bethel AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Bethel AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing 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 tech school, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact 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 a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Bethel AK 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 calls for re-certification every other year, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically conducted in Bethel AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Bethel AK. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. 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 assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Bethel AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Bethel AK health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Bethel AK in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Bethel AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Bethel AK colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Bethel AK area, verify 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 carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Bethel X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available patient care. As has been covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Bethel Alaska.