So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Eagle River AK in order to train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you undertake picking the right college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Eagle River AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. 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 two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Eagle River AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but a number offer other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Eagle River AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Eagle River AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But just make sure 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 structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Eagle River AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Eagle River AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the xray tech colleges you are evaluating have relationships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Eagle River AK medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Eagle River AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Eagle River AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online 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 consider is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Eagle River AK colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Eagle River AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician school is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with 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 doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Eagle River Alaska.