So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Sterling AK so you can become a radiology technician. And now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will obtain the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do mandate that radiology technicians become licensed, depending on where you ultimately practice you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you assess 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 driving distance of their homes. Next, they compare tuition and typically gravitate toward the lowest cost. But while expense and location need to be taken into consideration, there are other important qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internships. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are examining are provided later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic tech does and the credentials and education choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for x-ray techs (technologists or technicians). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary 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 administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for example mammography. They may practice in Sterling AK hospitals, clinics, private 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 and also frequently assess its performance and safety. They are additionally required to keep detailed records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
X-Ray Technician Degrees Available
The basic requirement for enrolling in an x-ray tech college is to have received a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among techs, usually requires 18 months to two years to complete depending on the program and course load. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in scope. Most students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be acceptable as well. Something to consider is that radiographer colleges have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship or externship program which a large number of schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Sterling AK or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing mandates in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiologic Technologist Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an X-Ray tech program, depending on the state where you will be employed you might need to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide other options for testing as well. A number of states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is voluntary. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it could improve your career options in and around Sterling AK to become certified. ARRT's certification program requires graduation from an approved program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also requires re-certification every 2 years, which may be met with 24 credits of continuing education, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Programs
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have clinical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree programs. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be fulfilled either in a college lab or in an externship off-campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Sterling AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online segment of the training can be accessed in the comfort of your home. Students who continue working while obtaining their degree often find that the online style of education is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are frequently cheaper than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, costs 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 dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then online classes may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Radiologic Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Sterling AK. You will also need to determine if you prefer to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But along with cost and location, what more should you look at when evaluating schools? Well, you should find out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these important details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are reviewing.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? The majority of xray technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance 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 numerous Sterling AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the radiology technician schools you are reviewing have partnerships with local hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Sterling AK medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in Sterling AK in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the radiographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Sterling AK home. Students 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 concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for 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 far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely 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 student to teacher 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the radiology technician program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sterling AK area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sterling X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right radiology technician degree program is a crucial first step toward starting a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also show a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety guidelines developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each college you are assessing before making your final decision. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to classes on-campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can narrow down your options before making your decision. And with the right training and your commitment to be successful, you can achieve your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Sterling Alaska.