How to Select the Right Ultrasound Tech Program Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Green Valley AZ, the next step is to begin the process of selecting a college. To begin with, you must find the ideal program that will furnish the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's extremely important that you research each school so that you can evaluate and compare your options. But just where does one begin? A number of individuals will begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location need to be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional important factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Occupation Description
There are various professional 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 basic job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Green Valley AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily work functions of a sonogram tech may consist of:
- 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 making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the safety and performance of their equipment. 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 up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degrees Available
Sonogram tech students have the choice to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take about 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to complete. Another option for individuals who have previously received 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 related health field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to consider is that the majority of ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous schools organize with Green Valley AZ hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to fulfill the certification or licensing 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 Green Valley 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.
Ultrasound Tech Online Degrees
As previously mentioned, nearly all sonogram technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can earn a degree or certificate online, a substantial part of the training will be either held in an on campus lab or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Green Valley AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the rest of the training and classes may be attended online in your Green Valley home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that keep working while getting their degrees. In addition online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased 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 important for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Schools
As soon as you have decided on which certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Green Valley AZ area. Naturally location will be important if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification also. But there are additional variables that you must also take into consideration, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are a few questions that you need ask each sonographer program prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Schools Accredited? Most sonogram tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still important to confirm 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 earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial aid and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Green Valley AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the sonogram technician colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Green Valley AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Green Valley healthcare community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without assistance. Ask if the sonographer programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Green Valley AZ home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the sonogram technician program also.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Green Valley Ultrasound Tech Training
Picking the right ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to commencing a gratifying new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from meeting academic standards, you need to be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for extended time frames and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Other preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep collected when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at. This is true whether you select an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can evaluate each program, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as an ultrasound technologist in Green Valley Arizona.