How to Find the Right Ultrasound Technician Degree Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Lake Havasu City AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you have to find the ideal program that will provide the appropriate training to become a skilled professional. And because some states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's extremely important that you research each college in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? Many individuals will begin by searching 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 other important factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training programs that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Work Description
There are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same basic job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Common daily work functions of an ultrasound tech may involve:
- 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 usage and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely gauge the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Sonogram technician students have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically involve about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finish. Another option for individuals who have previously earned a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have received a Bachelor's Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant health field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to bear in mind is that almost all ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training component as part of their course of study. It can often be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which many colleges sponsor with Lake Havasu City AZ clinics and hospitals. After you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with 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 Lake Havasu City 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 Sonographer Classes
As aforementioned, virtually all sonogram tech colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a substantial portion of the training will be either carried out in an on campus lab or at a sponsored off campus facility. Practical training can usually be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Lake Havasu City AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the balance of the classes and training may be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online programs are many times more affordable than on campus options. Costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just as with every sonography college you are considering, check that the online school you enroll in is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies 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 attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools
As soon as you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of evaluating and comparing ultrasound tech schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you will access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. Obviously location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification also. But there are additional things that you must also take into consideration, such as if the schools are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each ultrasound tech school prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Technician Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician colleges have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lake Havasu City AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the sonogram tech schools you are assessing have relationships with Lake Havasu City AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City healthcare community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will most likely want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the sonographer schools you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the sonographer program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Ultrasound Tech Program
Choosing the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is an important first step to initiating a gratifying new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged durations and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy equipment. Other helpful skills include technical proficiency, the ability to stay collected when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are reviewing. This is true whether you select an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can assess each school, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can reach your objective to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.