How to Pick an Accredited Ultrasound Tech Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Once 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 have to find the ideal program that will provide the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And because some states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's extremely important that you investigate each school in order to evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one start? Many potential students will start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location must be considered when making a decision, but there are additional critical factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's discuss what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training programs that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Summary
There are multiple 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 function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. While many practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority work in Lake Havasu City AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily job functions of an ultrasound technician may consist of:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying need for further testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Offered
Ultrasound technician students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require around 18 months to 2 years to accomplish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finish. Another alternative for individuals who have previously obtained 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 sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to bear in mind is that most ultrasound technician colleges do have a clinical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which numerous colleges organize with Lake Havasu City AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have 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.
Sonographer Online Degrees
As earlier discussed, almost all sonogram tech schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either held in an on campus lab or at an approved 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 remainder of the classes and training may be accessed online in your Lake Havasu City home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that keep working while getting their degrees. Plus online schools are many times more affordable than traditional options. Expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just as with any sonography college you are reviewing, verify that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes could be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
When you have decided on which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing and comparing ultrasound tech colleges. You may first want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a school campus in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. Obviously location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier as well. But there are additional things that you should also take into consideration, such as if the programs are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are some questions that you may want to ask each sonography college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? A large number of sonogram tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through an extensive examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the ultrasound technician schools you are evaluating have associations with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Lake Havasu City healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that first job in a new field can be difficult without help. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online 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 even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram tech program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the ultrasound tech program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Ultrasound Tech Program
Enrolling in the right sonographer degree or certificate program is an important first step to initiating a rewarding new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you must be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for lengthy durations and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy machines. Additional desirable skills include technical aptitude, the ability to remain calm when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each program you are looking at. This holds true whether you enroll in an online program or commute to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each program, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as an ultrasound technologist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.