How to Pick the Right Sonography Degree Program Near Glendale Arizona
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Glendale AZ, it's time to begin the procedure of picking a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will provide the necessary training to become a qualified professional. And because a number of states do require 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 examination. So it's extremely important that you investigate each school so that you can evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one start? Most students will start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost need to be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internships. These and other qualifiers 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 offered.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Description
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called 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 implement diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work functions of an ultrasound technician can consist of:
- Keeping records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely evaluate the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to sustain that degree 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 technician enrollees have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take about 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 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 enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to consider is that most ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous schools organize with Glendale AZ hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to comply with the licensing or certification prerequisites in Arizona or whichever state you decide 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.
Online Ultrasound Tech Schools
As earlier discussed, almost all ultrasound technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can earn a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either carried out in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Glendale AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the remainder of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Glendale home. This is particularly convenient for those students that keep working while earning their degrees. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But just as with every ultrasound tech college you are looking at, verify that the online program you select is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for certification, licensing and job placement (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 an online degree may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools
When you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a college campus in the Glendale 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 additional variables that you must also take into consideration, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they provide internship programs. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, following are several questions that you may want to ask each sonography school before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain 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. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Glendale AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the sonogram tech colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Glendale AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Glendale health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the sonographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Glendale AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the sonographer college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Glendale Ultrasound Tech Training
Picking the ideal ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a vital first step to entering a fulfilling new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician programs require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic standards, you must be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy time frames and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Other beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are looking at. This is the case whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can compare each college, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can achieve your objective to practice as an ultrasound tech in Glendale Arizona.