So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Eagle River AK in order to learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you should find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiologic technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several 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 identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Eagle River AK clinics, hospitals, 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 take care of their equipment and regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Eagle River AK or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Eagle River AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires 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 part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Eagle River AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Colleges
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Eagle River AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Eagle River AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Eagle River AK health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in Eagle River AK in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Eagle River AK schools you are considering 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Eagle River X-Ray Tech Training
Choosing the right x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. 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 evaluate and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Eagle River Alaska.