How to Select an Accredited Ultrasound Technician School Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Troy AL, the next step is to start the process of picking a school. First, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the appropriate education to become a skilled professional. And given that a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs 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 extremely important that you research each school in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one begin? Many potential students will start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly 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 have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internships. These and additional qualifications will be covered more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online training options that are offered.
Ultrasound Tech Work Summary
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job description, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Troy AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily work duties of an ultrasound technician can 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 usage and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly evaluate 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 stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Available
Sonogram tech students have the option to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally involve about 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to complete. Another option for individuals who have previously 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 relevant medical sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to keep in mind is that most ultrasound technician schools do have a clinical training element as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor with Troy AL hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or whichever 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 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.
Ultrasound Technician Online Programs
As earlier discussed, nearly all ultrasound technician schools have a practical component to their programs. So although you can receive a certificate or degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be either carried out in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can often be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Troy ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the remainder of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Troy home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are often more affordable than on-campus options. Costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But similarly as with every sonographer program you are considering, verify that the online program you ultimately pick 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 disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Ultrasound Technician Schools
As soon as you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Troy AL area. Obviously location will be important if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualification also. But there are other factors that you should also take into consideration, such as if the schools are accredited and if they offer internships. Therefore in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are a few questions that you need ask each sonographer college before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of ultrasound technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Troy AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the ultrasound technician colleges you are assessing have associations with Troy AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Troy medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Troy AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, 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 may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Troy Ultrasound Tech Training
Selecting the ideal ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to launching a rewarding new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to meeting academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for prolonged durations and able to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machines. Additional preferred talents include technical proficiency, the ability to keep collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing. This is the case whether you choose 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 program for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Troy Alabama.