How to Enroll in the Right Sonography Degree Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Goodyear AZ, it's time to start the procedure of choosing a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will furnish the proper education to become a skilled professional. And since some states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, 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 program in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? Many individuals will start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally cost and location should be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internships. These and additional qualifications will be addressed more in depth later in this article. But first, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training options that are available.
Ultrasound Technician Job Summary
There are more than one professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same basic job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority practice in Goodyear AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Common daily work tasks of a sonogram technician can consist of:
- Preserving records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Sonographers must routinely gauge the safety and performance of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that degree 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
Ultrasound tech students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally take about 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent 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 obtained a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant health sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to bear in mind is that most ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training component as a portion of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many schools organize through Goodyear AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill 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 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.
Sonogram Tech Online Degrees
As aforementioned, virtually all ultrasound technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be either conducted in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Goodyear AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. But the remainder of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Goodyear home. This is especially beneficial for those students that continue working while getting their degrees. In addition online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional alternatives. Costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just as with any ultrasound tech program you are looking at, check that the online school you choose is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 could be the right option for you.
What to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you will attend classes online or travel to a school campus in the Goodyear AZ area. Obviously location will be significant if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualifier also. But there are other factors that you should also take into consideration, such as if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are some questions that you need ask each sonographer school prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify 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 earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed examination of their teachers 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 education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Goodyear AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are interested in have associations with Goodyear AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Goodyear healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the sonographer schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Goodyear AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back 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 schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Goodyear AZ area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Goodyear Ultrasound Technician Program
Selecting the right ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to launching a rewarding new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical condition, able to stand for lengthy durations and able to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Additional helpful talents include technical proficiency, the ability to keep calm when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are reviewing. This holds true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can evaluate each program, you can narrow down your options until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can realize your objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in Goodyear Arizona.