How to Select an Accredited Ultrasound Tech Program Near Chandler Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Chandler AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a college. First, you must find the ideal program that will provide the appropriate education to become a skilled professional. And since some states do mandate that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you research each college in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one begin? Most individuals will begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost must be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional critical factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internship programs. These and other qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Work Description
There are several acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Chandler AZ clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily work duties of a sonogram technician can involve:
- 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 use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Sonographers must routinely assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Technician Degrees Available
Ultrasound technician enrollees have the option to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require around 18 months to 2 years to accomplish dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to complete. Another alternative for those who have previously 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 related medical sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to bear in mind is that the majority of sonographer programs do have a practical training component as a portion of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges set up through Chandler AZ hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to satisfy the certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or whatever 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 Sonogram Tech Programs
As earlier discussed, virtually all sonogram technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can receive a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on campus lab or at a sponsored off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can typically be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Chandler AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the balance of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Chandler home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that keep working while getting their degrees. In addition online programs are many times less costly than on-campus alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be reduced also. But similarly as with every ultrasound tech college you are considering, check that the online school you choose is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Programs
Now that you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of reviewing and comparing ultrasound tech colleges. You may first want to choose whether you will access classes online or commute to a college campus in the Chandler AZ area. Naturally location will be significant if you select the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other things that you should also take into account, such as if the schools are accredited and if they provide internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, following are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech program before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of sonogram tech colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible 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 program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the sonogram tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Chandler AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Chandler medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the sonographer schools you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Chandler AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the sonographer college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Chandler AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chandler Ultrasound Technician Training
Enrolling in the right sonographer certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to initiating a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for prolonged time frames and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machinery. Other desirable talents include technical proficiency, the ability to stay collected when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have addressed in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each program you are considering. This is true whether you choose an online program or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can evaluate each college, you will be able to narrow down your choices 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 objective to work as an ultrasound tech in Chandler Arizona.