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Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Alaska hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Alaska. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several approve other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in Alaska to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still earn your degree online, a large portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Alaska family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than on-campus options. Along with reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But just be sure that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.