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 technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a skilled professional? And because most states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's imperative that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can evaluate each program. Many students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you should ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and training choices that are available.
X-Ray Technician Career Summary
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Irrespective of the name, each has the same primary job description, which is to employ imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some choose to perform as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, for example mammography. They may work in Sitka AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment plus routinely assess its performance and safety. They are also expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Offered
The primary prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist pupils have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete and is more expansive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that are acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can frequently be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sitka AK or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be working you may need to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements vary so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensure will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number accept other options for testing as well. Several states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that are certified so it might improve your career options in and around Sitka AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Technologist Schools
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn your online degree, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is often carried out in Sitka AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online portion of the training can be attended in the comfort of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree often find that the online approach to education is far more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online programs are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But just confirm that the online college you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Sitka AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The cost of tuition and ancillary expenditures will be an important variable as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you need to find out if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you must ask the programs you are considering.
Are the Radiology Technician Schools Accredited? Most radiology tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure 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 detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations 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 help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Sitka AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the xray technician programs you are assessing have relationships with area hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Sitka AK medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sitka AK in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Sitka AK residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sitka AK colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor 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 opinions regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the radiographer school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Sitka X-Ray Tech Program
Picking the best radiology technician college is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer should be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the workday and move and in some cases lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and deliver the best available care to patients. As has been addressed in this report, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are assessing before making your ultimate decision. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each college so you can narrow down your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiology tech in Sitka Alaska.