How to Become a Sonographer | Ultrasound Tech Schools Phoenix AZ

Picking an Ultrasound Technician College Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix AZ ultrasound tech with female patientOnce you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Phoenix AZ, the next step is to start the process of picking a school. First, you need to find the ideal program that will furnish the necessary instruction to become a qualified professional. And because 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 extremely important that you research each program so that you can evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? Most individuals will start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost must be taken into account when making a decision, but there are additional important factors as well. Such as, 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 post. But first, let’s go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are offered.

Ultrasound Technician Job Description

ultrasound equipment in Phoenix AZThere are various acceptable titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although a number of techs practice as generalists there are specializations within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. The majority work in Phoenix AZ clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily job tasks of a sonogram tech can include:

  • Preserving records of patient case 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
  • Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
  • Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
  • Reviewing the results and determining need for further testing

Sonographers must frequently evaluate the performance and safety of their equipment. 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 remain current with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.

Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs Available

Ultrasound technician enrollees have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will usually require around 18 months to 2 years to accomplish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finalize. Another option for individuals 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 relevant health sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to bear in mind is that almost all ultrasound technician schools do have a practical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools set up through Phoenix AZ hospitals and clinics. After you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to comply with the certification or licensing prerequisites in Arizona or whatever state you decide to work in.

Questions to Ask Sonography Programs

Phoenix AZ sonographer with pregnant womanAfter you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of assessing and comparing sonogram technician schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Phoenix AZ area. Of course location will be significant if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier also. But there are additional factors that you should also take into consideration, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are some questions that you need ask each sonography program before deciding.

Are the Sonogram Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of sonogram tech schools have obtained some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still crucial to confirm that the school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a detailed examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the college is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets online or distance education. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Phoenix AZ health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.

Are Internships Offered? Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are evaluating have associations with Phoenix AZ clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Phoenix health care community and help with obtaining employment.

Is Job Placement Assistance available? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Find out if the ultrasound tech programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Arizona healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Phoenix AZ residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the sonographer  program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Phoenix AZ area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Sonogram Tech Online Schools

woman attending ultrasound technician school online in Phoenix AZAs earlier discussed, almost all ultrasound tech schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either conducted in an on-campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus medical care provider. Practical training can often be satisfied by means of an internship at a local Phoenix AZ outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the remainder of the training and classes may be attended online in your Phoenix home. This is particularly convenient for those students that continue working while obtaining their degrees. In addition online colleges are frequently less expensive than on campus options. Expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced also. But just as with any sonography college you are looking at, verify that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly important for certification, licensing and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then an online degree could be the right option for you.

Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Phoenix AZ?

If you are considering a Sonography Tech School in the Phoenix Arizona area, following is some interesting history and background information about the location of your new school campus.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.[5][6]

Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update].[7] In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.[8]

Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona in 1889.[9] Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate.[10][11] Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry).[12][13] Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.[14]

Enroll in the Ideal Ultrasound Tech College Phoenix AZ

Picking the ideal sonographer certificate or degree program is an important first step to initiating a gratifying new career delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Along with satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged time frames and able to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy equipment. Additional desirable talents include technical aptitude, the ability to keep calm when faced with an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have addressed in this post, there are a number of questions that you need to ask each school you are considering. This is the case whether you select an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can compare each school, you can narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can realize your objective to practice as an ultrasound tech in Phoenix AZ.

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