So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near College AK so you can learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into account, there are additional significant qualifications as well. For instance, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in College AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice 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 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 complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in College AK or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around College AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a considerable amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in College AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less costly than traditional options. Along with reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm 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 formalized style of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near College AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many College AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the College AK health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in College AK in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication 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 lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their College AK residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 choose 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the College AK schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the College 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 have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right College X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the best x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in College Alaska.