So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Eagle River AK in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Eagle River AK hospitals, clinics, private 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 have to care for their equipment and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 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 as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Eagle River 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 Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Eagle River AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Eagle River AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Eagle River AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Eagle River AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Eagle River AK health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Eagle River AK in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing 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 well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Eagle River AK home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Eagle River AK schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Eagle River X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the right radiology tech school is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Candidates 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Eagle River Alaska.