How to Find an Accredited Sonography School Near Ketchikan Alaska
Since you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Ketchikan AK, the next step is to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will furnish the proper instruction to become a qualified professional. And because some states do mandate that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you research each school so that you can assess and compare your choices. But exactly 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. Certainly location and cost need to be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are additional important factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let's review what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online training options that are available.
Sonogram Tech Work Description
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 basic job description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily work duties of an ultrasound technician can involve:
- Preserving records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining need for further testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently evaluate the performance and safety of their machines. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education training on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Available
Sonogram technician enrollees have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will normally require around 18 months to 2 years to finish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finish. Another option for those who have previously earned 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 field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician schools do have a practical training component as a portion of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which numerous schools organize with Ketchikan AK clinics and hospitals. 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 Alaska or whatever 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 Ketchikan 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.
Sonogram Tech Online Schools
As aforementioned, nearly all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant part of the training will be either conducted in an on campus lab or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can typically be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Ketchikan AKoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the remainder of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Ketchikan home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are many times more affordable than traditional alternatives. Costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But just as with every sonography program you are reviewing, make sure that the online school you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly important for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Schools
When you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to decide whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Ketchikan AK area. Clearly location will be significant if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualification also. But there are other things that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they provide internship programs. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are several questions that you need ask each sonography program before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Programs Accredited? Most ultrasound technician colleges have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to verify that the school and program 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Ketchikan AK health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the sonogram technician programs you are reviewing have relationships with Ketchikan AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Ketchikan healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Ketchikan AK residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the sonographer college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ketchikan AK area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Ketchikan Ultrasound Tech Program
Selecting the right ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is a vital first step to entering a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer colleges require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Along with meeting academic requirements, you need to be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for extended durations with the ability to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Other helpful talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay calm when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at. This is the case whether you enroll in an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each school, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to work as a sonographer in Ketchikan Alaska.