How to Choose an Accredited Sonography Course Near Chandler Arizona
Since you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Chandler AZ, the next step is to begin the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you have to find the ideal program that will provide the proper education to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you research each program in order to evaluate and compare your choices. But exactly where does one begin? Many individuals will start by looking for colleges that are within travelling distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly location and cost must be considered when making a decision, but there are other critical factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internships. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education options that are available.
Sonographer Work Summary
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as 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 carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. While many work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority work in Chandler AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work functions of an ultrasound tech can consist of:
- Preserving records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining need for additional testing
Sonographers must routinely assess the performance and safety of their machines. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to maintain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degrees Available
Sonogram tech enrollees have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically take around 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete. Another alternative for those who have already 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 relevant medical field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to bear in mind is that almost all ultrasound technician schools do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many colleges organize through Chandler AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to comply with the certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or whichever state you elect 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 Degrees
As aforementioned, virtually all ultrasound tech schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can earn a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus facility. Clinical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Chandler AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the balance of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Chandler home. This is especially beneficial for those students that keep working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online schools are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just as with every sonographer school you are reviewing, confirm that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online school may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Programs
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of reviewing and comparing ultrasound tech schools. You may first want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Chandler AZ area. Clearly location will be critical if you choose the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an important qualifier also. But there are other things that you must also take into account, for example if the programs are accredited and if they offer internships. 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 need ask each sonography college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Programs Accredited? Most sonogram technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded 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 gone through a detailed evaluation 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 agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Chandler AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the sonogram tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Chandler AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Chandler health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Find out if the sonographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable 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 need to be within driving distance of their Chandler AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important 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 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, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Chandler Ultrasound Technician Training
Selecting the right sonographer degree or certificate program is a vital first step to entering a fulfilling new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with meeting academic standards, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, able to stand for lengthy periods with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Additional preferred talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep collected when faced with an angry or anxious 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 program you are considering. This is true whether you select an online degree or commute to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can assess each college, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Chandler Arizona.