How to Pick the Right Ultrasound Tech Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Lake Havasu City AZ, the next step is to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will provide the necessary education to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it's very important that you investigate each program so that you can assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? A number of potential students will begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost need to be considered when making a decision, but there are additional critical factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be covered more in detail later in this post. But to start with, let's review what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training options that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Job Description
There are several professional 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 basic job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although many practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily work tasks of an ultrasound technician 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 use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying need for additional testing
Sonographers must routinely assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to sustain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Sonogram Tech Degrees Available
Sonogram technician enrollees have the opportunity to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will generally require around 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as 4 years to finalize. Another option for those who have already obtained 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 relevant medical field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer schools do have a clinical training element as part of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which numerous schools organize with Lake Havasu City AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or whichever state you elect to practice 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 Ultrasound Tech Schools
As earlier discussed, nearly all ultrasound tech colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So although you can earn a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either conducted in an on campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus facility. Clinical training can usually be satisfied through an internship at a local Lake Havasu City AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the balance of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City home. This is especially convenient for those students that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are frequently less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But similarly as with every sonography school you are reviewing, check that the online school you enroll in is accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 dedicated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Ultrasound Technician Programs
After you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to choose whether you will access classes online or travel to a college campus in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. Certainly location will be significant if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other factors that you should also take into account, such as if the schools are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are a few questions that you need ask each sonography college before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Technician Programs Accredited? Most ultrasound tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it's still imperative to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among 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 earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it may also obtain 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 help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Lake Havasu City AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level jobs.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the ultrasound tech colleges you are assessing have relationships with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without support. Find out if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student 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 an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the sonographer program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Ultrasound Technician Training
Enrolling in the right sonographer certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to entering a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Along with satisfying academic requirements, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Additional preferred talents include technical proficiency, the ability to keep calm when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing. This holds true whether you select an online program or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each school, you can narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can realize your goal to work as an ultrasound technologist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.