So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairbanks AK so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if 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 considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Fairbanks AK clinics, hospitals, family 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 also routinely analyze its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fairbanks AK or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an X-Ray tech school, based on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Fairbanks AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Fairbanks AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is much more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Fairbanks AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But along with cost and location, what else should you consider when evaluating schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 review of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Fairbanks AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have partnerships with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally 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 Fairbanks AK medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Fairbanks AK in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairbanks AK colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the right education and your motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Fairbanks Alaska.