How to Choose an Accredited Ultrasound Tech Course Near Lanett Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Lanett AL, the next step is to start the procedure of picking a college. First, you need to find the right program that will provide the necessary instruction to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's extremely important that you research each school so that you can assess and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? Many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location need to be considered when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But first, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech 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 carry out diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Lanett AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work duties of a sonogram technician may involve:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining necessity for further testing
Sonographers must frequently gauge the safety and performance of their equipment. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to maintain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Tech Degree Programs Offered
Sonogram technician students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally take around 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finalize. Another option for individuals who have previously received a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have received 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 require only 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to consider is that the majority of ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor with Lanett AL hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to comply with the certification or licensing prerequisites in Alabama or whatever state you choose to practice 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.
Online Sonogram Tech Schools
As aforementioned, virtually all sonogram technician schools have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either carried out in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus facility. Practical training can typically be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Lanett ALhospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. However the remainder of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Lanett home. This is particularly convenient for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are frequently less expensive than on campus alternatives. Expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But similarly as with every sonography college you are reviewing, verify that the online school you choose is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially crucial for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
When you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of reviewing and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You may first want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a college campus in the Lanett AL area. Certainly location will be significant if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualification also. But there are other variables that you should also take into consideration, for example if the programs are accredited and if they offer internships. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, following are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Lanett AL health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the ultrasound technician colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Lanett AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Lanett healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the sonographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Lanett AL 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 area internships will be of importance. 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student 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 talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the sonographer school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lanett AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Lanett Ultrasound Tech Program
Picking the right ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is an important first step to entering a gratifying new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic requirements, you must be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for prolonged durations and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Other preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep calm when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering. This is true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can compare each school, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the right training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as a sonographer in Lanett Alabama.