So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gateway AK in order to become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the ideal school and program so that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Most students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Gateway AK clinics, hospitals, 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 must maintain their equipment and frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all 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 primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Gateway AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be employed you may have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several approve additional alternatives for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Gateway AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often carried out in Gateway AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to education is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just be sure that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Gateway AK. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most xray tech schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies 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 help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Gateway AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the xray tech programs you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Gateway AK health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Gateway AK in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Gateway AK residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Gateway AK colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally select 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 Gateway AK area, make certain 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gateway X-Ray Tech Training
Selecting the appropriate x-ray tech school is a critical first step toward starting a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As we have addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can narrow down your options and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Gateway Alaska.