How to Pick 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 start the procedure of choosing a school. First, you need to find the ideal program that will furnish the appropriate training to become a skilled professional. And since a number of states do mandate that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it's very important that you investigate each college in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one begin? A number of prospective students will start by looking for schools that are within travelling distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost should be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional critical factors as well. For instance, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internships. These and other qualifications will be addressed more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are offered.
Sonographer Occupation Description
There are various 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 primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in New River AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Standard daily work duties of an ultrasound tech can consist of:
- Preserving records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining need for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely evaluate the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degrees Available
Ultrasound tech enrollees have the option to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take about 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor's Degree will require more time at up to four years to complete. Another alternative for individuals who have already earned 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 health sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take just 12 to 18 months to complete. Something to consider is that the majority of ultrasound technician schools do have a practical training element as part of their course of study. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which many schools sponsor through New River AZ hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to satisfy the licensing or certification requirements in Arizona or whichever 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.
Sonographer Online Programs
As aforementioned, virtually all sonogram tech colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a substantial part of the training will be either held in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off campus facility. Practical training can often be fulfilled through an internship at a local New River AZhospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. But the rest of the training and classes can be attended online in your New River home. This is especially beneficial for those individuals that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online colleges are frequently more affordable than on-campus options. Expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased as well. But similarly as with any ultrasound tech college you are considering, verify that the online program you choose is accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 motivated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Programs
When you have decided on the type of certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of assessing and comparing ultrasound technician schools. You may first want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a school campus in the New River AZ area. Naturally location will be critical if you choose the latter, and the price of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualification as well. But there are additional things that you should also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internship programs. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each sonography college before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Tech Programs Accredited? Most ultrasound tech schools have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still important to confirm that the program and school are accredited. One of 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 obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous review of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of New River AZ employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the ultrasound technician programs you are reviewing have associations with New River AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the New River health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the ultrasound tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their New River 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the sonographer college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best New River Ultrasound Technician Training
Selecting the right ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is an important first step to initiating a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with satisfying academic standards, you must be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for prolonged time frames with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Additional beneficial skills include technical aptitude, the ability to stay levelheaded when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you need to ask each college you are considering. This is true whether you choose an online degree or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can compare each college, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the right training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can achieve your objective to practice as an ultrasound technologist in New River Arizona.