How to Enroll in the Right Sonography Course Near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Juneau AK, it's time to begin the procedure of picking a college. To begin with, you have to find the right program that will provide the proper instruction to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that sonographers 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 so that you can evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? Most individuals will begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost must be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Work Summary
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job description, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in Juneau AK hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Common daily job functions of a sonogram tech can include:
- Keeping 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 recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining need for supplemental testing
Sonographers must frequently assess the performance and safety of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Sonogram Tech Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound tech students have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve about 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to finalize. Another option 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 health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician schools do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which many colleges sponsor through Juneau AK hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to satisfy the licensing or certification prerequisites in Alaska or whichever state you decide to practice 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 Juneau AK 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 Classes
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram tech 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 carried out in an on-campus laboratory or at an approved off campus medical care provider. Clinical training can typically be fulfilled through an internship at a local Juneau AKoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the rest of the training and classes may be attended online in your Juneau home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that keep working while earning their degrees. In addition online colleges are often less costly than on-campus alternatives. Expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just as with every ultrasound tech program you are reviewing, check that the online school you select is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Ultrasound Technician Schools
When you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing and comparing sonogram tech schools. You may first want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Juneau AK area. Naturally location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an important qualification as well. But there are additional things that you must also take into account, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you may want to ask each sonography program before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can 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. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous Juneau AK employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the sonogram technician schools you are assessing have partnerships with Juneau AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Juneau healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Juneau AK residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online 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 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost 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 reviewing 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 an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the sonogram technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the sonographer school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Juneau AK area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Juneau Ultrasound Tech Training
Choosing the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to launching a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy durations and able to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Other desirable 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 addressed in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing. This holds true whether you enroll in an online program or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can evaluate each program, you can narrow down your options until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Juneau Alaska.