How to Find the Best Ultrasound Technician Degree Program Near New River Arizona
Once 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 furnish the appropriate education to become a skilled professional. And since some states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, 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 research each school so that you can assess and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? A number of potential students will start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location should be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internships. These and additional qualifications will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let's discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online training options that are offered.
Sonogram Tech Occupation Description
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 carry out diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though many practice as generalists there are specialties within the field, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority work in New River AZ hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily job functions of an ultrasound tech may involve:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and recalibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and determining necessity for supplemental testing
Ultrasound techs must regularly evaluate the safety and performance of their machines. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that degree of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Available
Ultrasound tech students have the choice to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree will usually involve about 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finalize. Another option for those who have previously obtained 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. One thing to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by entering into an internship program which many schools sponsor with New River AZ clinics and hospitals. When you have graduated from any of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to comply with the certification or licensing requirements in Arizona or whatever state you elect 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 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.
Ultrasound Technician Online Classes
As earlier discussed, virtually all sonogram technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can receive a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at an approved off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can typically be fulfilled through an internship at a local New River AZhospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. But the balance of the training and classes may be accessed online in your New River home. This is especially beneficial for those students that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online schools are many times less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Costs for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But similarly as with any sonographer school you are reviewing, verify 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 particularly crucial for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online school could be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Sonography Programs
When you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You will first probably want to decide whether you will attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the New River AZ area. Certainly location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualification as well. But there are other things that you must also take into consideration, such as if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each sonographer college before deciding.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram tech schools have acquired some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it's still imperative to make sure that the school and program are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 an extensive evaluation of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets 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 quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous New River AZ employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the sonogram technician programs you are interested in have associations with New River AZ hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the New River health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the sonographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have sizable networks and good relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are highly regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their New River AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the sonographer college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the New River AZ area, make sure 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best New River Ultrasound Technician Training
Selecting the ideal ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, capable of standing for extended periods and able to regularly lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Other preferred skills include technical proficiency, the ability to keep calm when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you need to ask each school you are considering. This is true whether you enroll in an online program or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can evaluate each program, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can realize your objective to work as a sonographer in New River Arizona.