So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Nikiski AK in order to become a radiology technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you set about picking the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a skilled professional? And since most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's essential that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Most potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and often settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be considered, there are other critical qualifications as well. For example, you should 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 examining are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Nikiski AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician 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 and also frequently evaluate its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Technician Degrees Available
The primary requirement for attending an x-ray tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to 4 years to finish and is more expansive in nature. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Nikiski AK or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, depending on the state where you will be working you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many approve additional alternatives for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Nikiski AK to earn certification. 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 satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Nikiski AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of education is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are generally less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Along with reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased also. But just make certain that the online college you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Nikiski AK. You will also have to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools 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 organizations 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Nikiski AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Nikiski AK health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Nikiski AK in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Nikiski AK home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Nikiski AK colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Nikiski AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Nikiski X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the ideal radiology technician college is a critical first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical shape. Radiology techs typically stand for the majority of the day and position and in some cases lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict 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 techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Nikiski Alaska.