So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Eagle River AK so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to evaluate each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you need to ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some elect to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Eagle River AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally requires 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 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Eagle River AK or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many accept additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Eagle River AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Eagle River AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Eagle River AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Eagle River AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Eagle River AK health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Eagle River AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Eagle River AK home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Eagle River AK colleges 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify 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 you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Eagle River X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right radiology tech school is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Eagle River Alaska.