How to Pick the Best Ultrasound Tech Program Near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Chandler AZ, it's time to begin the procedure of choosing a school. First, you need to find the right program that will furnish the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And given that some states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's extremely important that you investigate each program so that you can assess and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? Many students will start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional critical factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this post. But first, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education options that are offered.
Ultrasound Tech Work Description
There are multiple acceptable 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 function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. While many practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily job functions of a sonogram tech may include:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly evaluate the performance and safety of their machines. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Available
Sonogram technician enrollees have the choice to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically require about 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to complete. Another option for those who have previously obtained a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have received a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a related health field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to bear in mind is that the majority of sonographer programs do have a clinical training element as part of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous schools organize with Chandler AZ hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to comply with the licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or whichever state you elect 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 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.
Online Sonographer Classes
As previously mentioned, virtually all sonogram technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either carried out in an on-campus laboratory or at an authorized off campus medical care provider. Practical training can often be satisfied through an internship at a local Chandler AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the rest of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Chandler home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are many times less costly than traditional options. Costs for study materials and commuting can be lessened also. But similarly as with any sonography program you are considering, check that the online program you choose is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies 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 motivated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Sonography Programs
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing and comparing sonogram tech schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Chandler AZ area. Certainly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier as well. But there are additional factors that you must also take into account, for instance if the schools are accredited and if they sponsor internship programs. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, following are several questions that you may want to ask each sonographer college before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Colleges Accredited? Most ultrasound tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Chandler AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the ultrasound technician colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Chandler AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Chandler medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly 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 Chandler AZ home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Chandler Ultrasound Tech Program
Selecting the right ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to embarking on a gratifying new career delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, able to stand for prolonged periods and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy machines. Other helpful talents include technical proficiency, the ability to stay levelheaded when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are considering. This holds true whether you enroll in an online degree or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each program, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Chandler Arizona.