So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sterling AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. And now that you have decided to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, exactly how do you tackle selecting the ideal school and program so that you will obtain the appropriate training to become a qualified practitioner? And considering that the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you might require training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you investigate each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. A number of students start by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and often settle on the most affordable cost. But while location and cost need to be taken into account, there are other significant qualifiers as well. For example, you need to find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are considering are provided later in this post. But first, let's talk about what a radiology tech does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
Radiology Technician Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the same major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialty, such as mammography. They can practice in Sterling AK clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might work with include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to care for their equipment and frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to retain complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
X-Ray Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or GED. 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 techs, usually takes 18 months to two years to complete based upon the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a practical training or lab component as part of their course of study. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship or externship program which many colleges sponsor through local hospitals and clinics in Sterling AK or their area. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any licensing or certification requirements in Alaska or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician college, depending on the state where you will be practicing you might have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their prerequisites differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide other alternatives for testing also. Several states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that have earned certification so it might increase your career options in and around Sterling AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their rigorous examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every 2 years, which may be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an exam.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree programs. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial amount of the training will be fulfilled either in a school lab or in an internship off campus. Practical training is usually performed in Sterling AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree usually find that the online style of learning is much more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online schools are often less expensive than conventional options. In addition to lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased also. But just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask X Ray Tech Colleges
As soon as you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of finding and assessing x-ray tech schools near Sterling AK. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then of course the location of the college will be important. The price of tuition and ancillary expenses will be a determining factor as well. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you look at when reviewing schools? Well, you should check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you learn some of these important details before you make your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the colleges you are assessing.
Are the Radiology Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of radiology technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Sterling AK health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the radiology technician programs you are assessing have associations with local clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Sterling AK health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Sterling AK in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Sterling AK home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Sterling AK schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the radiographer program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sterling AK area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Sterling X-Ray Tech School
Picking the ideal radiology technician 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. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Prospects must also show an ability to pay close attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray techs work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are considering before making your final selection. This is similarly true whether you decide on an online school or travel to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your options and make your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can reach your goal to practice as a radiographer in Sterling Alaska.