So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairbanks AK in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might need preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may practice in Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics, private 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 maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Fairbanks AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Fairbanks AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
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 even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Fairbanks AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online style of learning is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online program you pick 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 ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
As soon as you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Fairbanks AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Fairbanks AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Fairbanks AK healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Fairbanks AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Fairbanks AK colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately choose 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 Fairbanks AK area, verify 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best x-ray tech school is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Fairbanks Alaska.