So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ketchikan AK so you can learn to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications as well. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with 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 and also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech program is to have attained 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 prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Ketchikan AK or their region. After you have graduated from any 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.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept additional options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Ketchikan AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
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 schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Ketchikan AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are often more affordable than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm 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 style of training, then an online school may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Programs
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of locating and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Ketchikan AK. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor as well. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Ketchikan AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Ketchikan AK healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Ketchikan AK in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Ketchikan AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Ketchikan AK colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Ketchikan AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Ketchikan X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the best x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct 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. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant 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 need to ask each program you are looking at before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can examine and compare each school so you can focus your choices and make your decision. And with the proper education and your dedication to be successful, you can reach your goal to work as a radiographer in Ketchikan Alaska.