So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Nikiski AK in order to train to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, exactly how do you go about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be taken into account, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you should ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, 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 explore what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
Radiology Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for instance mammography. They may work in Nikiski AK hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to take care of their equipment and routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The primary prerequisite for enrolling in an x-ray tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are appropriate as well. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Nikiski AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, based on the state where you will be working you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many offer other options for testing also. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it could enhance your career options in and around Nikiski AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is often conducted in Nikiski AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online section of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online colleges are often cheaper than traditional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiology Tech Schools
After you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of searching for and assessing x-ray technician schools near Nikiski AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what more should you consider when evaluating colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. 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 quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Nikiski AK employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the xray tech programs you are evaluating have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Nikiski AK medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in Nikiski AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Nikiski AK residence. Students who have opted 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 concern. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Nikiski AK schools you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Nikiski AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Nikiski X-Ray Tech School
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech school is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best possible care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are reviewing before making your final selection. This is just as true whether you opt for an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each program so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a X-ray tech in Nikiski Alaska.