How to Enroll in an Accredited Ultrasound Technician Degree Program Near Glendale Arizona
Now that you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Glendale AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a school. First, you have to find the right program that will furnish the necessary training to become a qualified professional. And given that some states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's very important that you investigate each college in order to assess and compare your alternatives. But just where does one begin? Many potential students will start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly location and cost should be considered when making a decision, but there are additional important factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internship programs. These and other qualifications will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Sonographer 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. Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specializations within the field, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most work in Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work duties of a sonogram technician may include:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Offered
Ultrasound tech enrollees have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will normally require around 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to 4 years to finalize. 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 relevant health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to consider is that almost all sonographer schools do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which many colleges set up through Glendale AZ clinics and hospitals. Once you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to satisfy the licensing or certification prerequisites in Arizona or whichever 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.
Ultrasound Tech Online Classes
As previously mentioned, virtually all sonogram tech schools have a clinical component 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 lab or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can often be fulfilled through an internship at a local Glendale AZhospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. However the remainder of the classes and training may be attended online in your Glendale home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that keep working while getting their degrees. Plus online colleges are frequently less costly than traditional options. Expenditures for commuting and study materials may be lessened as well. But similarly as with every ultrasound tech school you are reviewing, check that the online school you ultimately pick is accredited. Among 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 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 could be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Schools
As soon as you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to decide whether you will access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Glendale AZ area. Certainly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier as well. But there are other factors that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they offer internships. So in order to complete your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, following are some questions that you may want to ask each sonography program before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of ultrasound tech schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative 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 undergone an extensive review of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Glendale AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the ultrasound technician programs you are interested in have partnerships with Glendale AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific way to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Glendale health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the sonographer programs you are assessing have job assistance 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 corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Glendale AZ home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Glendale Ultrasound Technician Program
Picking the ideal sonographer certificate or degree program is a vital first step to launching a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, able to stand for lengthy periods with the ability to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Additional beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing. This holds true whether you enroll in an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each school, you can narrow down your options 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 goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Glendale Arizona.