So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Palmer AK so you can become a radiologic technologist. And now that you have chosen to go into the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle choosing the right school and program to ensure that you will get the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require 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 evaluate each program. Many potential students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost should be considered, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Occupation Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the same principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, such as mammography. They can practice in Palmer AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may work with 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 routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected 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.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Available
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in nature. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Palmer AK or their region. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but many offer other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it may improve your career options in and around Palmer AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Classes
As a component 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 schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is usually provided in Palmer AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can 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 far more practical with their active schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just confirm that the online school you select is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Radiographer Schools
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Palmer AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be relevant. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a material factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these crucial details before you make your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of radiology tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to confirm that the school and program 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). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Palmer AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech colleges you are assessing have partnerships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Palmer AK health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Palmer AK in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Palmer AK residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Palmer AK colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Palmer AK area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Palmer X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the day and position and at times lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Palmer Alaska.