So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Wasilla AK in order to learn to be a radiologic technician. But now that you have made a decision to go into the satisfying field of healthcare, just how do you set about choosing the right school and program so that you will get the proper training to become a qualified professional? And considering that the majority of states do mandate that x-ray technicians become licensed, based on where you ultimately practice you might need training to pass a licensing test. So it's essential that you assess each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at so that you can compare each program. A number of students begin by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and typically settle on the most affordable cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional significant qualifiers also. For example, you must find out if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray technician does and the credentials and education options that are available.
Radiology Technician Job Summary
There are a number of professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. No matter what the name, each has the same 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 provide radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Some opt to perform as generalists, while others may choose a specialization, for example mammography. They can practice in Wasilla AK clinics, hospitals, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize 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 also frequently assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep in-depth records of all of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degrees
The standard requirement for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have attained 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 typical among techs, usually requires 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at up to four years to finish and is more comprehensive in nature. The majority of students choose a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional related majors that may be appropriate as well. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges offer through local hospitals and clinics in Wasilla AK or their area. Once you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alaska or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Licensing and Certification
When you have graduated from an x-ray technician program, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to be licensed. The majority of states do require licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several offer other options for testing as well. Some states also call for certification as part of the licensing process, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers would rather hire radiology techs that are certified so it may enhance your career options in and around Wasilla AK to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every other year, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an exam.
Online X-Ray Technician Programs
As a component of any degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is the same for online degree colleges. So although you can still earn your degree online, a significant amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is often provided in Wasilla AK hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the schools. But the online portion of the training can be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while obtaining their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their active schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on-campus options. Along with lower tuition, expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just make sure that the online school you pick is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of looking for and evaluating x-ray technician schools near Wasilla AK. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a nearby campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The price of tuition and secondary expenditures will be an important factor also. But along with location and cost, what more should you consider when reviewing colleges? Well, you should ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor internship or externship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have assembled a list of questions that you should ask the programs you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of radiology technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 gone through a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. 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 assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Wasilla AK employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the radiology tech schools you are reviewing have relationships with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Wasilla AK healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in Wasilla AK in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the x-ray tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Wasilla AK residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Wasilla AK colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the xray technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Wasilla AK area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Wasilla X-Ray Tech School
Choosing the right x-ray tech college is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The ideal radiographer must be in good physical shape. Radiology techs regularly stand for the greater part of the workday and position and at times lift the patient to get the correct image. Prospects must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to adhere to the safety requirements designed 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 social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and provide the best available patient care. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you opt for an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can analyze and compare each school so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper education and your commitment to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a radiologic technologist in Wasilla Alaska.