So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sitka AK in order to train to be a radiology technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering so that you can evaluate each program. A number of students begin by searching for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost should be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifiers as well. For example, you should ask whether or not 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 radiology tech does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, each has the identical principal job function, which is to employ imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They can practice in Sitka AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may 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 frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also expected to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have attained a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools offer through local clinics and hospitals in Sitka AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites vary so get in touch with 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 approve additional alternatives for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing process, if not it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it could improve your career options in and around Sitka AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Technologist Colleges
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 schools. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be completed either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically performed in Sitka AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your home. Students who keep working while earning their degree usually find that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced as well. But just be sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited (more on the benefits 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.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Sitka AK. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be an important variable also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to check out if the schools are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of xray technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Sitka AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the radiology tech programs you are interested in have partnerships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Sitka AK medical community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in Sitka AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Sitka AK residence. Those who have chosen 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 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sitka AK colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the radiographer program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sitka X-Ray Tech School
Selecting the best x-ray tech school is an important first step toward initiating a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the majority of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus 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 X-ray tech in Sitka Alaska.