How to Find an Accredited Ultrasound Tech College Near Phenix City Alabama
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Phenix City AL, it's time to start the procedure of picking a college. First, you have to find the ideal program that will provide the appropriate training to become a skilled professional. And given that some states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it's extremely important that you investigate each college in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one begin? Many individuals will begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional important factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Sonographer Occupation 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 basic job description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority work in Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily job functions of a sonogram technician may include:
- Preserving 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
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining need for further testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely gauge the performance and safety of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Technician Degrees Offered
Ultrasound technician enrollees have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require around 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to complete. Another alternative for those 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 medical field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to keep in mind is that most sonographer colleges do have a clinical training component as a portion of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by entering into an internship program which many colleges set up through Phenix City AL hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or whatever state you decide 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 Phenix City 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 previously mentioned, virtually all ultrasound technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can receive a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus medical care provider. Practical training can often be satisfied through an internship at a local Phenix City ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the rest of the training and classes may be attended online in your Phenix City home. This is particularly beneficial for those individuals that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But similarly as with any sonographer program you are looking at, verify that the online school you choose is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially crucial for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
Now that you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of reviewing and comparing sonogram tech colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you will access classes online or commute to a school campus in the Phenix City AL area. Clearly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualification also. But there are additional factors that you must also take into account, such as 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 final selection, following are some questions that you need ask each sonography college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? Most sonogram technician schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive 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 ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the sonogram tech programs you are evaluating have relationships with Phenix City AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Phenix City healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the sonographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Phenix City AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the sonogram tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the sonographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phenix City Ultrasound Tech Program
Picking the right ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended time frames and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Additional helpful talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay levelheaded when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each program you are looking at. This is true whether you select an online degree or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each college, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as a sonographer in Phenix City Alabama.