So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Lakes AK so you can become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice 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 looking at so that you can compare each program. Most prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the same principal job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Lakes AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must care for their equipment and routinely assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to retain 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 Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as 4 years to complete and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. Something to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may often be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Lakes AK or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be working you may need to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but many accept additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could enhance your career options in and around Lakes AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually performed in Lakes AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online college you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
When you have chosen the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Lakes AK. You will also need to determine if you want to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Lakes AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the radiology tech colleges you are interested in have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Lakes AK health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Lakes AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Lakes AK home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Lakes AK schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lakes AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lakes X-Ray Tech Program
Enrolling in the best radiology tech college is a critical first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and position and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can assess and compare each program so you can focus your choices before making your final choice. And with the right training and your dedication to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Lakes Alaska.