So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sterling AK in order to learn to be a radiology technologist. And now that you have chosen to enter the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you tackle choosing the right school and program so that you will get the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And since most states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, based on where you subsequently practice you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. A number of students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while cost and location must be considered, there are additional important qualifications also. For instance, you should find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they offer internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are presented later in this article. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are several professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, each has the identical principal job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally visualize patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may practice in Sterling AK hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech 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 routinely evaluate its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to complete and is more comprehensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate as well. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sterling AK or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist program, based on the state where you will be employed you may need to be licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their criteria differ so check with your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the licensing application, but a number accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Sterling AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an accepted program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also requires re-certification every two years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is the same for online degree schools. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is typically provided in Sterling AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training may be accessed in the comfort of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree often find that the online style of education is far more practical with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often cheaper than traditional options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just make certain that the online program you pick is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
After you have selected the kind of degree that you want to obtain, you can initiate the process of finding and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Sterling AK. You will also have to determine if you want to attend online classes or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenses will be a material variable also. But along with cost and location, what else should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you uncover some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have put together a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray technician schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Sterling AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the radiology technician schools you are evaluating have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Sterling AK health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in Sterling AK in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask 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 sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Sterling AK residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Sterling AK schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the radiographer program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sterling AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Sterling X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a rewarding new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs regularly stand for the majority of the working day and move and at times lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to comply with the safety requirements developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a necessity in order to have a productive work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online program or commute to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your decision. And with the proper training and your commitment to be successful, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a radiology tech in Sterling Alaska.