So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairbanks AK in order to train to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to employ 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 elect to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen 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 might utilize 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 routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The standard requirement for attending an x-ray tech school is to have received 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 typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Fairbanks AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Fairbanks AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Practical training is often performed in Fairbanks AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically find that the online style of education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have selected the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician schools near Fairbanks AK. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fairbanks AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Fairbanks AK medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Fairbanks AK in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairbanks AK colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must 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 option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Fairbanks X-Ray Tech Program
Choosing the best radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiologic technologist in Fairbanks Alaska.