So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Homer AK in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Many students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They can practice in Homer AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize 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 plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students 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 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Homer AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Homer AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
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 curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is typically carried out in Homer AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Homer AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these essential details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Homer AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the radiology technician colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Homer AK healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Homer AK in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Homer AK residence. Individuals who have opted 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. Something 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Homer 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 a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homer AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Homer X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay close 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 techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can assess and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Homer Alaska.