How to Pick the Right Ultrasound Technician Training Program Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Troy AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will provide the proper education to become a skilled professional. And given that a number of states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it's very important that you investigate each college so that you can assess and compare your choices. But exactly where does one start? A number of students will start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost need to be considered when making a decision, but there are other critical factors as well. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and other qualifications will be covered more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Troy AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily job duties of an ultrasound technician can include:
- Preserving records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical 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 programs on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Offered
Sonogram tech students have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically require around 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to finalize. Another alternative for those who have already earned a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have obtained 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 only 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to keep in mind is that the majority of sonographer programs do have a practical training component as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through Troy AL hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to satisfy 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 Troy 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, virtually all ultrasound technician colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus facility. Practical training can often be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Troy ALoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Troy home. This is particularly convenient for those students that keep working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online schools are often less costly than on campus alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But similarly as with any sonography program you are looking at, check that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly important for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Ultrasound Technician Colleges
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or travel to a school campus in the Troy AL area. Certainly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier also. But there are other factors that you should also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they offer 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 sonography school prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the ultrasound tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with Troy AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Troy health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the sonographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Troy AL home. Students who have opted 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 concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the ultrasound tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, confirm 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Troy Ultrasound Technician Training
Selecting the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to commencing a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you must be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy periods with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machinery. Other desirable talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep calm 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 need to ask each school you are reviewing. This is true whether you enroll in an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can assess each program, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Troy Alabama.