So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ketchikan AK in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you set about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might 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 evaluate each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location should be considered, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Ketchikan AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 frequently assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 takes 18 months to two 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 complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Ketchikan AK or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may need to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria vary so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number approve other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Ketchikan AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Practical training is usually carried out in Ketchikan AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently cheaper than on-campus alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits 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 choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech schools near Ketchikan AK. You will also have to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you should check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Ketchikan AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Ketchikan AK healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Ketchikan AK in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Ketchikan AK residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Ketchikan AK schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Ketchikan AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Ketchikan X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal radiology technician degree program is a critical first step toward starting a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are assessing before making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiographer in Ketchikan Alaska.