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How to Become a Sonographer | Ultrasound Tech Schools South Bay FL

Choosing an Ultrasound Technician Degree Program South Bay Florida

South Bay FL ultrasound tech with female patientNow that you have decided to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near South Bay FL, the next step is to start the procedure of choosing a college. To begin with, you have to find the right program that will provide the proper training to become a qualified professional. And given that a number of states do require that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a licensing or certification examination. So it’s extremely important that you research each program in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But just where does one begin? 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 should be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional critical factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internships. These and other qualifications will be covered more in depth later in this post. But first, let’s review what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online education programs that are available.

Sonographer Occupation Description

ultrasound equipment in South Bay FLThere are several acceptable 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 basic job function, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. Most work in South Bay FL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Routine daily work functions of a sonogram tech can include:

  • Keeping records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
  • Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
  • Preparing the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
  • Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
  • Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
  • Assessing results and determining necessity for additional testing

Sonographers must regularly evaluate the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to sustain that degree of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education training on an ongoing basis.

Sonogram Technician Degree Programs Offered

Sonogram tech enrollees have the opportunity to acquire 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 require more time at up to 4 years to complete. Another alternative for those who have previously 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 relevant health field, 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 most sonographer colleges do have a practical training element as part of their course of study. It can often be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous colleges organize through South Bay FL hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to satisfy the licensing or certification prerequisites in Florida or whatever state you choose to work in.

Topics to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools

South Bay FL sonographer with pregnant womanAfter you have determined which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of evaluating and comparing sonogram tech schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you will attend classes online or commute to a school campus in the South Bay FL area. Obviously location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualification also. But there are other factors that you must also take into consideration, such as if the programs are accredited and if they offer internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, below are some questions that you may want to ask each sonography program before deciding.

Are the Ultrasound Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram tech colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. However, it’s still imperative to make sure that the program and school 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a detailed evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it might also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. All accrediting agencies should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many South Bay FL health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited college for entry level openings.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the ultrasound tech schools you are evaluating have associations with South Bay FL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get practical 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 establish professional connections in the South Bay health care community and assist with job placement.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly want to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without support. Ask if the sonographer schools you are reviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Florida 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 school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their South Bay FL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram tech program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the ultrasound tech  program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the South Bay FL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Ultrasound Technician Online Programs

woman attending ultrasound technician school online in South Bay FLAs earlier discussed, nearly all sonogram tech schools have a practical component to their programs. So although you can obtain a certificate or degree online, a significant portion of the training will be either held in an on campus laboratory or at a sponsored off campus facility. Clinical training can typically be satisfied by means of an internship at a local South Bay FL outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. But the rest of the classes and training may be attended online in your South Bay home. This is especially convenient for those students that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online programs are many times less costly than on-campus alternatives. Expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But similarly as with every sonographer college you are reviewing, confirm that the online school you select is accredited. One of 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 job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn outside of the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes could be the right option for you.

Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near South Bay FL?

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

South Bay, Florida

South Bay is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is the westernmost municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area. The population was 3,859 at the 2000 census. As of 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 4,506.[7] While the current estimates place South Bay's population in the incorporated city limits at more than 4,000 people, surrounding areas increase the population figures to 54,000 people in a 25-mile (40 km) radius and more than 1.4 million in a 50-mile (80 km) radius.

South Bay was named for its location on Lake Okeechobee.[8] The town was incorporated in 1941.[9] The first mayor of South Bay was Aubrey (a.k.a. "Orb") Walker, who, along with his brother, Haughty D. Walker (a.k.a. "Haught"), survived the great hurricane of 1928 by gathering his family members onto a barge in the canal.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), including 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of (26.95%) water. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail runs through South Bay.

Enroll in the Ideal Ultrasound Tech Program South Bay FL

Picking the right sonographer certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to entering a gratifying new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician programs require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Along with satisfying academic requirements, you should be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended periods and able to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Additional desirable skills include technical proficiency, the ability to remain collected when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this post, there are a number of questions that you should ask each school you are looking at. This is the case whether you choose an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can evaluate each program, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the right training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can reach your objective to work as an ultrasound tech in South Bay FL.

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