How to Choose the Right Sonography Degree Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Once you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Goodyear AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a college. To begin with, you need to find the right program that will provide the appropriate instruction to become a qualified professional. And because a number of 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 research each school in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one begin? A number of potential students will start by searching for schools that are within travelling distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors as well. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's discuss what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training options that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Summary
There are various acceptable 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 description, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though a number of techs work as generalists there are specializations within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Goodyear AZ clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily work tasks of a sonogram tech can involve:
- Preserving records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining necessity for additional testing
Sonographers must routinely evaluate the performance and safety of their machines. 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 stay up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Offered
Ultrasound technician enrollees have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve about 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as 4 years to finalize. Another alternative 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 relevant medical sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to bear in mind is that most ultrasound technician colleges do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which many colleges organize with Goodyear AZ clinics and hospitals. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to satisfy the licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or whatever 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 Goodyear 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 Sonogram Tech Schools
As aforementioned, virtually all sonogram tech colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while 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 facility. Practical training can usually be fulfilled through an internship at a local Goodyear AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be attended online in your Goodyear home. This is particularly beneficial for those individuals that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are frequently less expensive than on campus alternatives. Costs for commuting and study materials may be lessened also. But just as with any sonography college you are looking at, make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Schools
Now that you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the Goodyear AZ area. Naturally location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification also. But there are additional factors that you should also take into account, such as if the programs are accredited and if they offer internships. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each sonographer college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? The majority of sonogram tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still crucial to make sure that the program and school are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Goodyear AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the ultrasound technician programs you are reviewing have associations with Goodyear AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates form professional connections in the Goodyear health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the ultrasound tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Goodyear Ultrasound Tech Program
Picking the ideal ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to embarking on a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer colleges require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Apart from satisfying academic standards, you must be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Additional helpful skills include technical proficiency, the ability to stay 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 school you are considering. This holds true whether you choose an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each school, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can reach your objective to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Goodyear Arizona.