Sonogram Tech Occupation Description
There are multiple professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most practice in Arizona hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily job tasks of an ultrasound technician may include:
- Preserving records of patient case 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
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that degree of professionalism and stay up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education training on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Available
Sonogram technician enrollees have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve about 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to complete. Another alternative for individuals who have previously 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 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 colleges do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools organize with Arizona clinics and hospitals. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to fulfill the licensing or certification prerequisites in Arizona or whichever 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 Arizona:
- 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, almost all sonogram tech colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a substantial part of the training will be either carried out in an on campus lab or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be fulfilled through an internship at a local Arizona outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the remainder of the training and classes may be attended online in your home. This is especially convenient for those individuals that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online schools are many times less costly than traditional options. Expenditures for commuting and study materials can be lessened as well. But similarly as with every sonographer college you are reviewing, make sure that the online school you choose is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially important for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online degree may be the ideal option for you.