How to Select the Right Sonography School Near Kingman Arizona
Once you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Kingman AZ, it's time to start the process of picking a college. First, you need to find the right program that will provide the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you investigate each program in order to evaluate and compare your options. But exactly where does one start? A number of potential students will start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.
Sonogram Tech Job Summary
There are various acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. While a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in Kingman AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily work tasks of an ultrasound technician can consist of:
- 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 usage and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and identifying need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely assess the safety and performance of their equipment. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Ultrasound tech students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve around 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to finalize. Another alternative for those 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 sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to keep in mind is that most ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools organize through Kingman AZ hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to fulfill the licensing or certification 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 Kingman 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 Classes
As previously mentioned, almost all sonogram technician schools have a practical component to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either carried out in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off-campus facility. Practical training can typically be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Kingman AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the rest of the training and classes can be accessed online in your Kingman home. This is particularly beneficial for those individuals that keep working while earning their degrees. In addition online programs are often less costly than on campus alternatives. Costs for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But similarly as with any ultrasound tech school you are reviewing, make sure that the online program you select is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially important for certification, licensing and job placement (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 online classes could be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Ultrasound Technician Colleges
Now that you have decided on which certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of assessing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to decide whether you will access classes online or travel to a college campus in the Kingman AZ area. Certainly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualifier also. But there are other variables that you must also take into consideration, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it's still crucial to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 a detailed evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And many Kingman AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the ultrasound technician schools you are evaluating have associations with Kingman AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Kingman medical community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will most likely wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new field can be challenging without help. Find out if the sonographer programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Kingman AZ home. Individuals who have chosen 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. 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 as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the sonographer program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Kingman AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Kingman Ultrasound Tech Program
Enrolling in the right sonographer degree or certificate program is an important first step to launching a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with meeting academic standards, you should be in at least fairly good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy time frames with the ability to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to position patients and move heavy equipment. Additional desirable talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have addressed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each school you are considering. This is the case whether you choose 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 will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as a sonographer in Kingman Arizona.