So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Palmer AK so you can train to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you go about choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently work you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and often gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into account, there are additional important qualifiers also. For instance, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Work Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical fundamental job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many choose to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Palmer AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 care for their equipment and also frequently analyze its performance and safety. They are also required to keep detailed 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 Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, normally requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Palmer AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be practicing you might have to be licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but many provide other alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could increase your career options in and around Palmer AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So while you can still earn your degree online, a considerable amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Palmer AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically find that the online style of learning is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than conventional options. Along with lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just make sure that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits 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 right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiographer Schools
Once you have decided on the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Palmer AK. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or drive to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you need to find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still crucial 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Palmer AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level positions.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the xray technician schools you are interested in have associations with regional hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Palmer AK health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in Palmer AK in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the x-ray tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial 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 a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Palmer AK residence. Individuals who have decided 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large 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 likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Palmer AK schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the radiographer program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Palmer AK area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Palmer X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the ideal x-ray tech degree program is a critical first step toward launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs typically stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best possible patient care. As we have covered in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiographer in Palmer Alaska.