So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sitka AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have decided to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about picking the right college and program to ensure that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you may require training to pass a licensing test. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. Most potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while cost and location should be considered, there are other important qualifiers also. For instance, 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 reviewing are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiology tech does and the degrees and education options that are offered.
Radiology Tech Job Summary
There are multiple professional designations for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the same principal job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Sitka AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician might utilize 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 routinely analyze its performance and safety. They are also required 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.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The primary prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, normally requires 18 months to two years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more extensive in scope. Most students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that are appropriate also. One thing to bear in mind is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It can typically be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sitka AK or their region. After 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.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have 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 purpose of licensing, but several offer additional options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Sitka AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Degrees
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree programs. So while you can still earn your online degree, a considerable portion of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Sitka AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online segment of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online college you pick 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 an online school may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask X Ray Tech Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can begin the process of locating and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Sitka AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material factor also. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when reviewing colleges? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have put together a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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 earning accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Sitka AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the xray tech programs you are reviewing have relationships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sitka AK health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in Sitka AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent 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 Program Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Sitka AK residence. Those who have opted 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sitka AK schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Sitka X-Ray Tech School
Picking the best x-ray technician school is an important first step toward beginning a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements 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 interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best available care to patients. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering before making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you decide on an online program or drive to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the appropriate education and your dedication to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Sitka Alaska.