So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sitka AK in order to become a radiologic technologist. But now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you set about choosing the right college and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And because the majority of states do mandate that x-ray techs become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing test. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location need to be considered, there are additional important qualifiers as well. For example, you must ask whether or not the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray tech does and the degrees and training options that are offered.
Radiology Technician Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, each has the identical primary job function, which is to utilize imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists might also provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work 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 must maintain their equipment plus frequently analyze its functionality and safety. They are also expected to retain in-depth 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 Tech Degrees Available
The basic prerequisite for attending a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or GED. Radiologic technologist pupils have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among technicians, normally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer programs have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which a large number of schools offer through local hospitals and clinics in Sitka AK or their area. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification mandates in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Licensing and Certification
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, depending on the state where you will be working you may have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their criteria vary so check with your state. Currently, all states that do require licensure will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but several provide other alternatives for testing also. A number of states also call for certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. Having said that, numerous healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may enhance your career options in and around Sitka AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which may be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online X-Ray Tech Programs
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have clinical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree colleges. So even though you can still earn 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 usually performed in Sitka AK family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the schools. However the online portion of the training may be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online colleges are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. In addition to lower tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online program you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less structured type of training, then online classes may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of finding and evaluating x-ray tech colleges near Sitka AK. You will also need to decide if you want to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you consider when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship 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 schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of xray tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded 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 gone through a rigorous review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Sitka AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are interested in have partnerships with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Sitka AK health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sitka AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the radiographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Sitka AK home. Students who have opted to attend classes online 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 keep 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sitka AK schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sitka AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Sitka X-Ray Tech Program
Selecting the appropriate radiology technician school is an important first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety guidelines designed 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. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and provide 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 reviewing prior to making your final decision. This is equally true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your decision. And with the proper training and your motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Sitka Alaska.