How to Select the Best Ultrasound Tech Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Lake Havasu City AZ, the next step is to start the procedure of selecting a school. First, you need to find the right program that will provide the necessary education to become a qualified professional. And given that some states do mandate that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it's extremely important that you research each program so that you can evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? Most students will start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location need to be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internships. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Work Description
There are multiple professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though a number of techs practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Standard daily job functions of an ultrasound tech may involve:
- Maintaining records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for supplemental 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 health practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Available
Ultrasound tech students have the choice to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take 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 finish. Another alternative for individuals who have already earned 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 instead choose a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training element as a portion of their course of study. It often may be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous schools set up through 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 choose 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 Colleges
As earlier discussed, almost all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant 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 fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Lake Havasu City AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But 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 getting their degrees. In addition online colleges are often less costly than on campus options. Costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just as with every sonographer program you are looking at, confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially crucial for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Sonogram Tech Colleges
Once you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing and comparing ultrasound tech schools. You will first probably want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. Naturally location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are additional factors that you must also take into consideration, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they sponsor internships. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, following are some questions that you may want to ask each sonographer program before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Schools Accredited? A large number of ultrasound technician schools have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still crucial to verify that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly respected 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 gone through an extensive review of their instructors and course materials. If the college is online it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized 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 getting financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Lake Havasu City AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the sonogram technician schools you are interested in have partnerships with Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Lake Havasu City health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that initial job in a new field can be challenging without support. Ask if the sonographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large 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 college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering 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 talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.
Does the College 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 opt to continue working while you attend classes. 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 attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Ultrasound Tech Program
Picking the ideal sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to commencing a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to meeting academic standards, you must be in at least reasonably good physical health, able to stand for prolonged periods and able to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy equipment. Additional beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to remain levelheaded when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple questions that you should ask each college you are looking at. This is true whether you select an online program or drive to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can compare each college, you can narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can achieve your objective to work as a sonographer in Lake Havasu City Arizona.