How to Pick the Best Sonography Degree Program Near Glencoe Alabama
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Glencoe AL, the next step is to start the process of choosing a college. First, you need to find the right program that will furnish the necessary instruction to become a skilled professional. And because some states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you investigate each college so that you can evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one start? Most students will begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location need to be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they sponsor internships. These and additional qualifications will be covered more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Job Description
There are multiple professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While many practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Glencoe AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily job duties of an ultrasound technician can consist of:
- Keeping records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for further testing
Sonographers must regularly assess the performance and safety of their machines. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Available
Sonogram technician students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve around 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to finish. Another alternative for those who have previously obtained a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have earned a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to consider is that most ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training element as a portion of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which numerous colleges organize through Glencoe AL clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill the licensing or certification prerequisites in Alabama or whichever state you choose to work in.
Ultrasound Technology Specialties
Ultrasound technology, or diagnostic sonography, has become more popular for diagnosing internal medical conditions because, unlike other medical imaging tools such as X-rays or CT Scans, ultrasound doesn’t expose the body to radiation. This safer approach has made ultrasound imaging the preferred method for testing pregnant women and infants, who have a higher risk for complications due to radiation. However, babies and expectant mothers are not the only ones who can benefit from ultrasound imaging and it is used in many ways to diagnose illness in the body. Following is a partial list of ultrasound technician education specialties available in the Glencoe AL area:
- Musculoskeletal sonographers can create real-time images of joint injuries, assisting orthopedic surgeons and sports physicians in their diagnosis and treatment.
- Abdominal sonographers specialize in generating images of abdominal internal organs and tissues, such as the pancreas, spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Breast sonographers conduct ultrasound scans using a sound frequency specifically targeted for breast tissue to evaluate tumors and other abnormalities as a method of verifying or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
- Obstetrics/Gynecology sonographers work with women to scan their reproductive organs and assess the development and health of fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Echocardiography sonographers are trained in the imaging and evaluation of the heart, its valves and vessels, and the blood flow to and from the heart.
- Vascular technologists are trained to use ultrasound technology to identify damaged areas or blockages in blood vessels, and to gauge the flow of blood through veins and arteries.
- Ophthalmology sonographers conduct diagnostic tests on the eyes and surrounding muscles and tissue.
- Neurosonology sonographers are specially trained to use ultrasound imaging to detect blockages, tumors or abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Online Ultrasound Technician Schools
As earlier discussed, virtually all sonogram technician colleges have a practical component to their programs. So although you can earn a degree or certificate online, a substantial part of the training will be either carried out in an on campus lab or at a sponsored off campus medical care provider. Clinical training can typically be fulfilled through an internship at a local Glencoe ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the remainder of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Glencoe home. This is particularly beneficial for those individuals that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online programs are often less expensive than on campus options. Expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But similarly as with every sonographer program you are looking at, confirm that the online school you select is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially significant for licensing, certification and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Schools
When you have determined which certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of assessing and comparing sonogram tech colleges. You may first want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the Glencoe AL area. Certainly location will be critical if you choose the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other variables that you must also take into consideration, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internship programs. So in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each sonographer program prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of ultrasound tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Glencoe AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the ultrasound tech colleges you are evaluating have associations with Glencoe AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Glencoe health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Glencoe AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 decide to enroll in a college 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glencoe AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Glencoe Ultrasound Tech Program
Enrolling in the right ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is a vital first step to embarking on a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Along with meeting academic requirements, you must be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy periods with the ability to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Other desirable skills include technical proficiency, the ability to stay calm when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at. This holds true whether you choose an online degree or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can evaluate each program, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the right training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Glencoe Alabama.