How to Select an Accredited Ultrasound Technician Program Near Moody Alabama
Once you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Moody AL, it's time to start the process of picking a college. First, you must find the right program that will furnish the appropriate instruction to become a qualified professional. And given that a number of states do mandate that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's very important that you investigate each program in order to evaluate and compare your choices. But exactly where does one start? Many individuals will begin by looking for colleges that are within travelling distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost need to be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional important factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's review what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are available.
Sonographer Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although many practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Moody AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily job functions of an ultrasound tech may consist of:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Available
Sonogram technician students have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically take about 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to 4 years to complete. 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 related medical sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to consider is that the majority of sonographer colleges do have a clinical training element as part of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which many colleges sponsor with Moody AL hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to fulfill the licensing or certification requirements 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 Moody 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.
Ultrasound Technician Online Classes
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram technician schools have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can obtain 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 facility. Clinical training can typically be satisfied through an internship at a local Moody ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the balance of the training and classes can be attended online in your Moody home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that continue working while earning their degrees. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than on campus alternatives. Costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But similarly as with any sonography college you are looking at, check that the online school you select is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially important for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Ultrasound Technician Programs
When you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of reviewing and comparing ultrasound tech colleges. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Moody AL area. Certainly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier as well. But there are other factors that you must also take into account, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internship programs. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, below are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 assessment of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Moody AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the ultrasound technician schools you are reviewing have relationships with Moody AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Moody health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the sonographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication 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 a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Moody AL home. 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the ultrasound tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Moody Ultrasound Technician Training
Picking the ideal ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a vital first step to commencing a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged time frames with the ability to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Other helpful skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep collected when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at. This is the case whether you select an online program or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each program, you can narrow down your options until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the right training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can realize your objective to practice as a sonographer in Moody Alabama.