So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Meadow Lakes AK in order to train to be a radiology technologist. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you go about picking the right school and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified professional? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing examination. So it's essential that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Many students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are additional significant qualifiers as well. For instance, you should ask whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, 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 post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to work as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Meadow Lakes AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 regularly analyze its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth 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 Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, usually requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Meadow Lakes AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many provide other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may increase your career options in and around Meadow Lakes AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technologist Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Meadow Lakes AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
After you have chosen the kind of degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Meadow Lakes AK. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Tech Colleges Accredited? Most radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations 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 getting financial assistance 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 a number of Meadow Lakes AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the xray technician programs you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Meadow Lakes AK health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Meadow Lakes AK in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Meadow Lakes AK residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Meadow Lakes AK colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the xray tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Meadow Lakes AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Meadow Lakes X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the right radiology tech school is a crucial first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. This is just as true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiology tech in Meadow Lakes Alaska.