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Gateway Alaska x-ray tech examining x-rays on monitorSo you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Gateway AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, how do you tackle picking the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be considered, there are other significant qualifications also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the degrees and training options that are available.

Radiology Tech Work Description

Gateway Alaska doctor examining x-ray

There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Gateway AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with include:

  • Traditional and specialized X-Rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Sonography or ultrasound
  • Fluoroscopy

Radiographers must care for their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.

X-Ray Technician Degrees

Gateway Alaska x-rayThe basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. One thing to bear 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 fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Gateway AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.

X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification

When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Gateway AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.

Online Radiology Technician Programs

Gateway Alaska woman attending x-ray technician classes onlineAs a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still earn your online degree, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often performed in Gateway AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are generally less expensive than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you enroll in 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 best option for you.

Points to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges

When you have chosen the type of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Gateway AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you factor in when reviewing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.

Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can 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 positions.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Gateway AK healthcare community and assist with job placement.

Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in Gateway AK in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Gateway AK residence. Individuals 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 concern. 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for 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 back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Gateway AK colleges you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer  program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gateway AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have 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 obligations.

Learn More About Gateway X-Ray Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Gateway X-Ray Tech School

Selecting the right radiology tech degree program is a critical first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and sometimes lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are assessing before making your final decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper training and your dedication to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Gateway Alaska.



 

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