How to Find an Accredited Ultrasound Tech College Near New River Arizona
Since you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near New River AZ, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will provide the proper education to become a skilled professional. And given that some states do require that sonographers be either certified or licensed, 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 research each program in order to evaluate and compare your options. But just where does one start? Most prospective students will start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly location and cost must be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional significant factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they sponsor internship programs. These and other qualifications will be discussed more in depth later in this post. But first, let's discuss what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training options that are offered.
Ultrasound Tech Job Summary
There are more than one 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 implement diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most work in New River AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Common daily work tasks of an ultrasound tech can include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Prepping the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Using equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently evaluate the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that degree of professionalism and stay up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Sonogram technician students have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will typically take around 18 months to 2 years to finish dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as long as 4 years to finalize. Another alternative for those who have previously 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 related medical sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to finish. Something to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer schools do have a clinical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many colleges organize through New River AZ hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to satisfy the certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or whatever state you decide 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 New River 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 Technician Schools
As earlier discussed, nearly all ultrasound technician colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus lab or at an approved off campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be satisfied by means of an internship at a local New River AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the balance of the training and classes may be attended online in your New River home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. Plus online schools are frequently less costly than traditional alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But similarly as with every sonographer program you are considering, confirm that the online program you enroll in is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is especially important for licensing, certification and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes could be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Ultrasound Technician Colleges
Now that you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of evaluating and comparing ultrasound technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a school campus in the New River AZ area. Clearly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier as well. But there are other things that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internships. Therefore in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, following are some questions that you need ask each sonographer college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of ultrasound technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone an extensive examination of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it may also obtain 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. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous New River AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the sonogram technician programs you are interested in have associations with New River AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the New River medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their New River AZ home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the ultrasound technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the sonographer college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right New River Ultrasound Tech Program
Choosing the right sonographer degree or certificate program is an important first step to starting a gratifying new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical condition, able to stand for extended time frames with the ability to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Other beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to remain levelheaded when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this article, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are looking at. This holds true whether you choose an online program or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can assess each college, you can 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 reach your goal to practice as a sonographer in New River Arizona.