How to Find an Accredited Ultrasound Tech School Near Bullhead City Arizona
Since you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Bullhead City AZ, the next step is to begin the process of selecting a school. First, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the necessary training to become a skilled professional. And because some states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you investigate each program in order to evaluate and compare your options. But just where does one start? Many prospective students will begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly location and cost should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But first, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Work Description
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called 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 perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While many work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in Bullhead City AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily job functions of an ultrasound tech may consist of:
- Keeping records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Sonogram technician students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve around 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to 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 relevant health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to consider is that almost all sonographer colleges do have a practical training element as a portion of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which numerous schools sponsor through Bullhead City AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill the certification or licensing prerequisites in Arizona or whatever 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 Bullhead City AZ 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.
Online Ultrasound Tech Degrees
As aforementioned, nearly all ultrasound technician colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So although you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at an authorized off-campus facility. Clinical training can usually be fulfilled through an internship at a local Bullhead City AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the rest of the training and classes may be attended online in your Bullhead City home. This is particularly beneficial for those individuals that keep working while earning their degrees. Plus online colleges are many times more affordable than on-campus alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced as well. But similarly as with any ultrasound tech college you are reviewing, confirm that the online program 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 especially important for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Programs
Now that you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you will attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the Bullhead City AZ area. Clearly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification as well. But there are other factors that you must also take into consideration, such as if the schools are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are several questions that you need ask each ultrasound tech school prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? Most ultrasound technician colleges have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 gone through a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies 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 securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Bullhead City AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the sonogram technician programs you are interested in have associations with Bullhead City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Bullhead City medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Bullhead City AZ home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the sonographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bullhead City AZ area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bullhead City Ultrasound Technician Program
Enrolling in the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for extended time frames and able to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Additional preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to stay collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing. This holds true whether you choose an online degree or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each college, you can narrow down your options until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Bullhead City Arizona.