How to Select the Best Sonography School Near Laveen Arizona
Since you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Laveen AZ, the next step is to start the procedure of selecting a college. To begin with, you have to find the ideal program that will furnish the necessary education to become a qualified professional. And because a number of states do require that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it's very important that you research each program in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? Most potential students will begin by looking for colleges that are within travelling distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost must be considered when making a decision, but there are other important factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internships. These and other qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's go over what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online training options that are available.
Sonogram Tech Work Summary
There are multiple 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 perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While many practice as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority practice in Laveen AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily job tasks of a sonogram technician may involve:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for testing and then sterilizing 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 determining need for additional testing
Sonographers must routinely assess the safety and performance of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education training on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Sonogram tech enrollees have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will normally take around 18 months to 2 years to accomplish depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to 4 years to complete. Another alternative for those who have already received 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 enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to consider is that the majority of sonographer schools do have a practical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by participating in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor through Laveen AZ hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to fulfill the licensing or certification 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 Laveen 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 Colleges
As aforementioned, almost all sonogram tech schools have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on-campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus facility. Clinical training can usually be fulfilled through an internship at a local Laveen AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the remainder of the classes and training can be attended online in your Laveen home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that continue working while getting their degrees. In addition online programs are many times more affordable than on campus alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting can be lessened as well. But just as with every ultrasound tech school you are considering, make sure that the online program you ultimately pick 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 certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Sonography Schools
After you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of assessing and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or travel to a school campus in the Laveen AZ area. Naturally location will be important if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualification as well. But there are additional variables that you should also take into consideration, for example if the programs are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, following are a few questions that you may want to ask each sonography school before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? Most sonogram technician colleges have acquired some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the program is online it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in obtaining financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Laveen AZ health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the sonogram tech schools you are reviewing have associations with Laveen AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the Laveen healthcare community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have large networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Laveen AZ residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the sonographer college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Laveen AZ area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Laveen Ultrasound Tech Training
Enrolling in the ideal ultrasound tech certificate or degree program is an important first step to entering a rewarding new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Along with meeting academic standards, you need to be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for lengthy time frames and able to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Other beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep calm when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing. This is true whether you choose an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can evaluate each college, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the right training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can realize your objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in Laveen Arizona.