So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Bethel AK so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about selecting the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Bethel AK hospitals, clinics, family 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 maintain their equipment and also routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer 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 additional related majors that are acceptable also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Bethel AK or their region. Once 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.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other options for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might enhance your career options in and around Bethel AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Bethel AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are generally more affordable than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just confirm that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Bethel AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Bethel AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Bethel AK healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Bethel AK in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Bethel AK residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way 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 one-on-one instruction. Ask the Bethel AK schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bethel AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Bethel X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the right x-ray technician degree program is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at before making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Bethel Alaska.