Selecting an Ultrasound Technician Training Program Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Fairbanks AK, the next step is to start the process of choosing a college. To begin with, you have to find the right 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 where you will practice you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it’s very important that you research each program in order to assess and compare your choices. But just where does one start? A number of individuals will start by searching for schools that are within travelling distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are additional important factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be addressed more in detail later in this article. But to start with, let’s go over what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training options that are offered.
Ultrasound Technician Job Description
There are several professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job function, which is to implement diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. Most practice in Fairbanks AK clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Common daily job duties 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 use and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Moving patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
- Utilizing equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and identifying need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently gauge the performance and safety of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and stay up to date with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Sonogram technician enrollees have the opportunity to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take about 18 months to 2 years to complete depending on the program and class load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete. Another alternative for individuals who have previously earned 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 field, you can enroll in a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician colleges do have a practical training element as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by taking part in an internship program which numerous colleges sponsor with Fairbanks AK 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 Alaska or whatever state you elect to work in.
Questions to Ask Sonography Colleges
As soon as you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the process of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You will first probably want to choose whether you will access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Fairbanks AK area. Obviously location will be significant if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an initial qualifier as well. But there are additional things that you must also take into account, such as if the colleges are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you need ask each sonography program prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Programs Accredited? A large number of ultrasound tech schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still crucial 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). Programs earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a detailed assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a superior education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Fairbanks AK employers will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the ultrasound tech colleges you are interested in have relationships with Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Fairbanks health care community and help with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to secure employment quickly after graduation, but finding that first job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the sonographer schools 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 large networks and great relationships with Alaska healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Fairbanks AK residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program also.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the sonographer program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fairbanks AK area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Online Ultrasound Tech Colleges
As earlier discussed, almost all ultrasound technician schools have a clinical component to their programs. So although you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant part of the training will be either carried out in an on campus lab or at an authorized off campus facility. Clinical training can usually be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Fairbanks AK outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the rest of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Fairbanks home. This is especially beneficial for those students that keep working while earning their degrees. In addition online schools are often less expensive than on-campus options. Costs for study materials and commuting may be lessened also. But similarly as with every sonographer school you are reviewing, verify that the online school 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 particularly important 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 convenience of your own home, then an online degree may be the right choice for you.
Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Fairbanks AK?
If you are considering a Sonography Tech School in the Fairbanks Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about the location of your new school campus.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 100,605, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though there was never a permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing. In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the land bridge.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Enroll in the Best Sonographer Program Fairbanks AK
Choosing the ideal sonographer certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling new career furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech schools require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for prolonged periods and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Additional helpful talents include technical proficiency, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each program you are considering. This is true whether you select an online program or travel to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each school, you will be able to narrow down your options until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to work as an sonographer in Fairbanks AK.
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