How to Find an Accredited Sonography Degree Program Near Tuskegee Alabama
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Tuskegee AL, it's time to start the procedure of choosing a school. First, you need to find the ideal program that will furnish the proper education to become a skilled professional. And given that a number of states do mandate that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you investigate each school so that you can assess and compare your choices. But just where does one start? Many individuals will begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location must be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other important factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this post. But to start with, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple 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 basic job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although many work as generalists there are specializations within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Tuskegee AL clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily work duties of an ultrasound tech can include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently gauge the safety and performance of their equipment. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to sustain that degree of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degrees Available
Ultrasound technician students have the choice to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve about 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as 4 years to finish. Another option for those who have previously received 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 field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to bear in mind is that most sonographer schools do have a practical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which numerous schools sponsor with Tuskegee AL hospitals and clinics. Once 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 whichever state you elect 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 Tuskegee 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.
Sonographer Online Degrees
As earlier discussed, nearly all sonogram technician colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be either held in an on campus lab or at a sponsored off-campus facility. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Tuskegee ALhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the balance of the classes and training may be accessed online in your Tuskegee home. This is especially beneficial for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. Plus online programs are frequently less expensive than on campus alternatives. Costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But just as with every ultrasound tech school you are considering, make sure that the online program you select is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and job placement (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 may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Sonogram Tech Programs
As soon as you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You may first want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a school campus in the Tuskegee AL area. Certainly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier as well. But there are additional factors that you must also take into consideration, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internship programs. Therefore 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 college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged 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 assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Tuskegee AL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are assessing have partnerships with Tuskegee AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Tuskegee health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without support. Ask if the ultrasound tech programs you are considering 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 corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Tuskegee AL residence. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the ultrasound tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tuskegee AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Tuskegee Ultrasound Technician Program
Selecting the ideal ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to commencing a fulfilling new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for prolonged periods with the ability to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Other preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to stay levelheaded when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing. This holds true whether you select an online program or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can assess each college, you will be able to narrow down your options until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the right training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can achieve your objective to practice as a sonographer in Tuskegee Alabama.