How to Select the Best Ultrasound Tech Degree Program Near New River Arizona
Once you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near New River AZ, the next step is to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you must find the right program that will provide the appropriate instruction to become a qualified professional. And because some states do mandate 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 exam. So it's very important that you investigate each program in order to assess and compare your options. But just where does one start? A number of students will start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location need to be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other important factors as well. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internships. These and other qualifiers will be covered more in depth later in this article. But to start with, let's review what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Work Summary
There are more than one acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, 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 pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in New River AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily job tasks of a sonogram technician can involve:
- 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
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Assessing results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are required to complete continuing education training on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Available
Sonogram tech enrollees have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will normally require about 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 option for those who have already earned 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 field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to keep in mind is that the majority of sonographer colleges do have a practical training element as part of their course of study. It often may be satisfied by entering into an internship program which numerous schools set up through New River AZ clinics and hospitals. Once you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill the certification or licensing prerequisites 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 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 Sonogram Tech Colleges
As previously mentioned, virtually all sonogram technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus lab or at a sponsored off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can typically be fulfilled through an internship at a local New River AZoutpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. But the balance of the training and classes can be attended online in your New River home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that keep working while obtaining their degrees. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. Expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But similarly as with every sonography college you are reviewing, make sure that the online program you select is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools
When you have decided on which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You may first want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the New River AZ area. Certainly location will be significant if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualifier also. But there are additional variables that you must also take into consideration, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internships. So in order to complete your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you need ask each sonography college before deciding.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can 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. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And numerous New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level positions.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the ultrasound technician programs you are reviewing have partnerships with New River AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the New River medical community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their New River AZ residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the sonographer program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right New River Ultrasound Tech Program
Enrolling in the right sonographer degree or certificate program is a crucial first step to launching a gratifying new career delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you need to be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended time frames and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to position patients and move heavy machinery. Additional beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep calm when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each college you are looking at. This is the case whether you select an online degree or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can assess each school, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in New River Arizona.