How to Choose an Accredited Ultrasound Tech Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Lake Havasu City AZ, the next step is to begin the procedure of choosing a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will furnish the appropriate instruction to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it's very important that you research each school so that you can evaluate and compare your alternatives. But just where does one begin? Most potential students will begin by looking for schools that are within travelling distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost must be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internships. These and other qualifiers will be discussed more in detail later in this post. But to start with, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training options that are available.
Ultrasound Technician Work 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 description, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Although many practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most practice in Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Common daily work duties of an ultrasound tech may consist of:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and determining necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess 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 level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Tech Degrees Available
Ultrasound technician enrollees have the opportunity to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will normally require around 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as four years to finalize. Another option for individuals who have already received 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 related health field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer schools do have a practical training element as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous colleges set up through Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to fulfill the certification or licensing requirements 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 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.
Ultrasound Tech Online Schools
As earlier discussed, nearly all sonogram technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can receive a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either carried out in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Lake Havasu City AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City home. This is particularly beneficial for those students that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are often less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But similarly as with any sonography school you are looking at, confirm that the online program you ultimately pick is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Sonography Programs
After you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the procedure of reviewing and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You may first want to decide whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. Of course location will be important if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other factors that you should also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internship programs. 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 sonographer school prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Schools Accredited? Most sonogram technician schools have earned 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 regarded accrediting agencies 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 gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the sonogram technician schools you are assessing have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new field can be challenging without support. Find out if the sonographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the ultrasound tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Ultrasound Technician Training
Selecting the ideal ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to commencing a gratifying new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for extended time frames with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Additional preferred skills include technical aptitude, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each program you are considering. This is the case whether you choose an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each college, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can reach your objective to work as a sonographer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.