So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Ketchikan AK in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have decided to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you undertake selecting the right college and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may need preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are other significant qualifiers also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Description
There are several professional designations 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, they all have the identical major job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 and also routinely evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain complete 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 Tech Degree Options
The primary requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech program is to have earned 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 common among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer colleges have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Ketchikan AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide additional options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Ketchikan AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Schools
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a large portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often provided in Ketchikan AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online section of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often discover that the online approach to education is far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently cheaper than on-campus options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Ketchikan AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Ketchikan AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Ketchikan AK health care community and assist 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 difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Ketchikan AK home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost 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 researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Ketchikan AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Ketchikan X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology tech college is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your choices and make your decision. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiographer in Ketchikan Alaska.