So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Fairbanks AK so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need training 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 searching 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 location and cost need to be taken into consideration, there are other significant qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries 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 x-ray tech does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the same fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They can work in Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 frequently evaluate its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Fairbanks AK or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Fairbanks AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Degrees
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Fairbanks AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school 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 degree may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
After you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Fairbanks AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are reviewing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Fairbanks AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Fairbanks AK healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in Fairbanks AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Fairbanks AK colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the xray tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed 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. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Fairbanks Alaska.