How to Find an Accredited Ultrasound Tech Degree Program Near Chandler Arizona
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Chandler AZ, the next step is to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you must find the ideal program that will provide 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 your residence you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it's very important that you research each program so that you can evaluate and compare your options. But just where does one begin? Most prospective students will start by searching 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 other critical factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be covered more in detail later in this post. But to start with, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are available.
Sonographer Job Description
There are several 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 primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily work functions of a sonogram tech can involve:
- Keeping records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying need for supplemental testing
Sonographers must routinely assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also must adhere to a high professional 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 enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound tech 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 based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to finalize. Another option for individuals who have already 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 enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to keep in mind is that most sonographer 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 schools set up through Chandler AZ hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the licensing or certification requirements 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 Chandler 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.
Ultrasound Technician Online Schools
As previously mentioned, nearly all sonogram tech colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off campus facility. Clinical training can usually be fulfilled through an internship at a local Chandler AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the rest of the classes and training may be accessed online in your Chandler home. This is especially beneficial for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than on campus options. Costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But similarly as with every sonographer school you are reviewing, verify that the online program you select is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially 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 online classes could be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Ultrasound Technician Programs
When you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You will first probably want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Chandler AZ area. Clearly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualification also. But there are other variables that you should also take into consideration, such as if the schools are accredited and if they provide internship programs. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, following are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech school prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of ultrasound tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm that the school and program are accredited. Among 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 earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous review of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Chandler AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are assessing have associations with Chandler AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chandler healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field 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 indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Chandler AZ home. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the sonographer program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Chandler Ultrasound Technician Training
Picking the right ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is an important first step to entering a rewarding new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended time frames and able to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machines. Additional helpful talents include technical aptitude, the ability to remain collected when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are considering. This holds true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can evaluate each school, you will be able to narrow down your options until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in Chandler Arizona.