So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Palmer AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake picking the ideal college and program so that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And because most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and frequently gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while cost and location must 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 inquiries and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a radiology technician does and the degrees and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Tech Work Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, each has the identical fundamental job function, 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 the treatment of cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They can practice in Palmer AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might 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 plus regularly evaluate its performance and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of all 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 basic requirement for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity 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 finish based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more expansive in scope. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Palmer AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their requirements vary so contact your state. Presently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number provide other options for testing as well. Several states also require certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might improve your career options in and around Palmer AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be satisfied either in a college lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often carried out in Palmer AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is much more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, costs for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But just make certain that the online school you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Radiographer Programs
As soon as you have decided on the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of searching for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Palmer AK. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be a material variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when evaluating schools? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these essential details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 an extensive review of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Palmer AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the xray tech programs you are interested in have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Palmer AK medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Palmer AK in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Palmer AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Palmer AK schools you are reviewing what the average 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Palmer AK area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Palmer X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best radiology technician school is an important first step toward initiating a satisfying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to adhere to the safety guidelines designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are assessing prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online program or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate training and your dedication to be successful, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Palmer Alaska.