How to Enroll in an Accredited Sonography School Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Goodyear AZ, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you must find the ideal program that will furnish the proper education to become a skilled professional. And given that a number of states do require that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's extremely important that you research each school so that you can evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? A number of prospective students will start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally cost and location must be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional critical factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be addressed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Occupation Description
There are several acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same basic job description, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Goodyear AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work functions of an ultrasound tech can include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for further testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound technician enrollees have the choice to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically require around 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to complete. Another option for those who have already earned 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 related health field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which numerous schools set up 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 prerequisites 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 Degrees
As earlier discussed, nearly all ultrasound technician colleges have a practical component to their programs. So while you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off campus facility. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Goodyear AZhospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. However the balance of the classes and training may be attended online in your Goodyear home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that continue working while obtaining their degrees. Plus online schools are many times more affordable than traditional alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But similarly as with any ultrasound tech program you are reviewing, check that the online program you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly respected 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 disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
As soon as you have decided on which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing and comparing sonogram tech colleges. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a college campus in the Goodyear AZ area. Of course location will be critical if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification also. But there are additional variables that you should also take into consideration, for example if the schools are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each sonography college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still crucial to confirm 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). Programs receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Goodyear AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the sonogram technician programs you are evaluating have relationships with Goodyear AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Goodyear health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the ultrasound tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good indication that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Goodyear Ultrasound Technician Training
Picking the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is an important first step to entering a gratifying new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended time frames and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy machines. Additional helpful talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay collected when confronted by an anxious or angry 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 should ask each school you are considering. This holds true whether you enroll in an online degree or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can compare each school, you will be able to narrow down your options until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can reach your objective to practice as an ultrasound tech in Goodyear Arizona.