How to Choose the Best Sonography Course Near El Mirage Arizona
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near El Mirage AZ, it's time to begin the procedure of picking a school. First, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the proper training to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you investigate each program so that you can assess and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? Most individuals will start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internship programs. These and other qualifications will be discussed more in detail later in this post. But to start with, let's discuss what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Job Description
There are more than one 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 basic job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily work duties of a sonogram tech can 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
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly gauge the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Available
Sonogram tech students have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve around 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to finish. Another alternative for those who have already received 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 field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer schools do have a clinical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous schools sponsor with El Mirage AZ clinics and hospitals. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to satisfy the certification or licensing prerequisites 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 El Mirage 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 Degrees
As aforementioned, almost all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local El Mirage AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the remainder of the training and classes can be attended online in your El Mirage home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced also. But similarly as with every ultrasound tech school you are looking at, confirm that the online school 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 particularly important for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Sonography Schools
Once you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram tech colleges. You may first want to decide whether you will attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the El Mirage AZ area. Clearly location will be significant if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other variables that you must also take into account, for example if the schools are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, following are a few questions that you may want to ask each sonography school before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still important to make sure that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn 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 ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous El Mirage AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the ultrasound technician schools you are interested in have associations with El Mirage AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the El Mirage healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the sonographer programs you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their El Mirage AZ residence. 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear 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 considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the El Mirage AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best El Mirage Ultrasound Technician Training
Picking the right ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to initiating a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic standards, you must be in at least fairly good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy periods and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Other preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep levelheaded when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are considering. This holds true whether you enroll in an online degree or travel to the school 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 choices until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can reach your goal to work as a sonographer in El Mirage Arizona.