So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairbanks AK so you can train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen 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 skilled professional? And since the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research 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 residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics, 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 must take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degree Options
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Fairbanks AK or their area. Once 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.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Fairbanks AK to become certified. 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 two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Fairbanks AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just be sure that the online college you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician schools near Fairbanks AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn 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 assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important 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 evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Fairbanks AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the xray technician schools you are reviewing have associations with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Fairbanks AK healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Fairbanks AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairbanks AK schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Fairbanks X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the appropriate radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs 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 deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Fairbanks Alaska.