How to Enroll in an Accredited Ultrasound Technician College Near Lanett Alabama
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Lanett AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. First, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And since a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you research each school in order to assess and compare your alternatives. But just where does one begin? Many students will begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location must be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they sponsor internships. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Job Summary
There are multiple professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority practice in Lanett AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily job tasks of an ultrasound technician can consist of:
- Preserving records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Available
Sonogram technician students have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally involve about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to finish. Another alternative for individuals who have already 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 field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to keep in mind is that the majority of sonographer colleges do have a practical training component as a portion of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many schools organize with Lanett AL clinics and hospitals. After you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to satisfy the certification or licensing prerequisites in Alabama or whatever state you elect 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 Lanett 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.
Sonogram Tech Online Schools
As aforementioned, almost all ultrasound tech colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either carried out in an on campus lab or at a sponsored off campus facility. Clinical training can often be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Lanett ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the remainder of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Lanett home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on-campus options. Expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased also. But just as with any sonography program you are considering, verify that the online program you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially important for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Sonography Colleges
Now that you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing and comparing sonogram tech schools. You may first want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a college campus in the Lanett AL area. Obviously location will be important if you choose the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualifier also. But there are additional variables that you must also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? Most sonogram technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with 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 licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lanett AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the sonogram tech programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Lanett AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Lanett medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Find out if the sonographer schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Alabama 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 select will have to be within travelling distance of their Lanett AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the sonographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lanett AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Lanett Ultrasound Tech Training
Picking the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to launching a fulfilling new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer schools require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with meeting academic requirements, you must be in at least fairly good physical condition, capable of standing for extended time frames with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Additional preferred talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at. This is the case whether you enroll in an online degree or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can compare each college, you can narrow down your choices until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to work as an ultrasound tech in Lanett Alabama.