How to Select an Accredited Ultrasound Technician School Near Goodyear Arizona
Since you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Goodyear AZ, the next step is to begin the procedure of choosing a school. First, you need to find the ideal program that will provide the appropriate training to become a skilled professional. And because some states do require that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, 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 investigate each college in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one begin? Most prospective students will start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location need to be taken into account when making a decision, but there are other important factors also. For example, 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 first, let's discuss what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training programs that are available.
Ultrasound Technician Occupation Description
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily job functions of a sonogram tech may include:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for testing and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are required to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound technician students have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to finalize. Another option for individuals who have previously earned 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 instead choose a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to keep in mind is that the majority of ultrasound technician schools do have a practical training element as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor through Goodyear AZ hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to satisfy the licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or whichever state you decide 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 Ultrasound Technician Colleges
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram technician schools have a practical component to their programs. So while you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus medical care provider. Clinical training can usually be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Goodyear AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the rest of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Goodyear home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. Plus online programs are many times less expensive than on campus alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But just as with every ultrasound tech school you are looking at, check that the online school you enroll in is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes could be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Ultrasound Technician Colleges
When you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the procedure of evaluating and comparing ultrasound technician schools. You may first want to decide whether you will access classes online or commute to a school campus in the Goodyear AZ area. Of course location will be important if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualification also. But there are other factors that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internship programs. Therefore in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, below are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech college before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? Most sonogram technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to make sure 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a rigorous examination of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Goodyear AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the sonogram tech schools you are interested in have associations with Goodyear AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Goodyear health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the sonographer programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the sonographer college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Goodyear Ultrasound Technician Program
Choosing the ideal ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is a vital first step to entering a rewarding new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you need to be in at least fairly good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy durations with the ability to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Additional desirable talents include technical aptitude, the ability to remain calm when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are considering. This is the case whether you select an online program or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each program, 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, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can achieve your objective to work as an ultrasound tech in Goodyear Arizona.