How to Pick an Accredited Sonography Training Program Near Glendale Arizona
Once you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Glendale AZ, it's time to begin the procedure of choosing a college. First, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the necessary training to become a skilled professional. And since a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you research each school in order to assess and compare your options. But exactly where does one start? Most potential students will start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location must be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internship programs. These and other qualifications will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But first, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Description
There are several 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 basic job description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While many work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Glendale AZ clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily job tasks of a sonogram tech can include:
- Preserving records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying need for supplemental testing
Sonographers must routinely evaluate the performance and safety of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Offered
Ultrasound tech students have the choice to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to finish. Another option for individuals who have previously earned 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 instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to bear in mind is that the majority of sonographer colleges do have a clinical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous schools set up through Glendale AZ clinics and hospitals. Once you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the certification or licensing prerequisites 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 Glendale 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.
Sonographer Online Programs
As earlier discussed, virtually all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either held in an on-campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus facility. Practical training can typically be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Glendale AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the balance of the training and classes may be attended online in your Glendale home. This is particularly convenient for those students that keep working while earning their degrees. Plus online colleges are many times less expensive than on-campus options. Expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But similarly as with every sonography college you are considering, 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 especially crucial for licensing, certification and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online degree could be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
Once you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a school campus in the Glendale AZ area. Naturally location will be significant if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualification also. But there are other factors that you must also take into account, such as if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internship programs. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each sonography school before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of ultrasound tech schools have earned some type 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 regarded accrediting agencies in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also receive 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 help in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Glendale AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the ultrasound technician colleges you are assessing have associations with Glendale AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional connections in the Glendale healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Glendale AZ residence. 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 area 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the ultrasound tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, verify 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 need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Glendale Ultrasound Tech Program
Enrolling in the right ultrasound tech certificate or degree program is a vital first step to embarking on a gratifying new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Other desirable skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep levelheaded when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing. This is the case whether you choose an online degree or commute to the school 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 choices until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to practice as an ultrasound tech in Glendale Arizona.