So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Juneau AK so you can learn to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you tackle selecting the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location should be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifiers also. For example, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the credentials and training options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may practice in Juneau AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Juneau AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but several approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Juneau AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Classes
As a part of any 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 while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is often provided in Juneau AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online approach to education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of finding and assessing x-ray technician colleges near Juneau AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on 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 guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Juneau AK employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are interested in have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Juneau AK medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Juneau AK in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Juneau AK home. Those 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Juneau X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the right x-ray tech school is an important first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the working 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 adhere to the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing prior to making your ultimate decision. This is just as true whether you opt for 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 before making your decision. And with the right education and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Juneau Alaska.