So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sitka AK in order to become a radiology technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you undertake choosing the ideal school and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a skilled practitioner? And since most states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice 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 compare each program. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and usually settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they offer internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Work Summary
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the identical principal job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view 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 others may choose a specialization, such as mammography. They may practice in Sitka AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technologist may work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and also regularly assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally required to retain complete records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Tech Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, 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 up to 4 years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are acceptable also. Something to keep in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It may often be fulfilled by participating in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sitka AK or their area. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to abide by any certification or licensing mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an X-Ray tech college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their criteria 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 examination for the purpose of licensing, but many accept other options for testing as well. Some states also require certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could increase your career options in and around Sitka AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Sitka AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally more affordable than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just confirm 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 style of training, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Radiologic Tech Schools
After you have selected the kind of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Sitka AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a material variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing colleges? Well, you should ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these essential details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among 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 rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance 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 obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Sitka AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are evaluating have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sitka AK healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Sitka AK in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the x-ray tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Sitka AK home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sitka AK colleges 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the xray technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Sitka X-Ray Tech Training
Enrolling in the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs typically stand for the majority of the day and move and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Prospects must also show a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements designed to protect both the medical team and the patient. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Having social skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection. This is equally true whether you participate in an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options and make your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Sitka Alaska.