So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Juneau AK so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the right college and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And considering that most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can compare each program. Most potential students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other significant qualifications as well. For instance, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the same principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can work in Juneau AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might work with 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 and also routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degree Options
The basic prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, normally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which a large number of colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Juneau AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, based on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but several accept other alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Juneau AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technician Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical 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 significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Juneau AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online segment of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Programs
When you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Juneau AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when evaluating colleges? 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 need to ask the schools you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Juneau AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Juneau AK medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Juneau AK in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Juneau AK home. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Juneau X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best x-ray technician college is a critical first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are looking at 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 examine and compare each college so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the appropriate training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Juneau Alaska.