How to Find an Accredited Sonography Program Near Glendale Arizona
Since you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Glendale AZ, the next step is to begin the procedure of selecting a college. To begin with, you must find the ideal program that will provide the proper education to become a skilled professional. And given that some states do mandate that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's extremely important that you research each school in order to assess and compare your options. But exactly where does one begin? A number of potential students will begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly location and cost should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this post. But to start with, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Description
There are various acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. While a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Glendale AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily work tasks of a sonogram technician may include:
- Maintaining records of patient case histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining need for further testing
Sonographers must regularly evaluate the safety and performance of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Offered
Sonogram tech enrollees have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve about 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as 4 years to complete. Another option for those who have already obtained 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 relevant health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to keep in mind is that almost all ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous schools organize through Glendale AZ hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one 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.
Sonographer Online Classes
As earlier discussed, almost all ultrasound tech colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So although you can receive a certificate or degree online, a significant part of the training will be either held in an on-campus laboratory or at an authorized off campus facility. Practical training can usually be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Glendale AZhospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. However the remainder of the training and classes can be attended online in your Glendale home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are often less costly than on-campus options. Expenses for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just as with every sonographer college you are considering, check that the online school you ultimately pick is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Sonogram Tech Schools
Once you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating and comparing ultrasound technician schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Glendale AZ area. Obviously location will be significant if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification as well. But there are additional variables that you must also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internships. So in order to complete your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, below are several questions that you need ask each sonographer program before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of ultrasound technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Glendale AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have partnerships with Glendale AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Glendale medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are assessing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Glendale AZ home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Glendale AZ area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Glendale Ultrasound Technician Training
Choosing the right ultrasound tech certificate or degree program is a vital first step to launching a fulfilling new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for extended durations and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machines. Additional beneficial skills include technical proficiency, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at. This is true whether you choose an online degree or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each program, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can reach your objective to work as an ultrasound tech in Glendale Arizona.