How to Pick the Right Ultrasound Technician School near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Opelika AL, the next step is to start the process of selecting a college. To begin with, you must find the ideal program that will furnish the proper training to become a qualified professional. And because some states do require that ultrasound techs be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing exam. So it’s extremely important that you investigate each program in order to assess and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? A number of individuals will begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course location and cost should be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other important factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be discussed more in detail later in this post. But to start with, let’s go over what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education options that are available.
Ultrasound Tech Job Summary
There are more than one professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also called sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job function, which is to carry out diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. Even though a number of techs work as generalists there are specializations within the profession, for instance in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Opelika AL clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily work tasks of an ultrasound technician can include:
- Maintaining records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for use and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely assess 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 level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degrees Offered
Ultrasound tech enrollees have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will normally require about 18 months to 2 years to complete dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to finish. Another alternative for individuals who have previously obtained 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 enroll in a certificate program that will require only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to consider is that almost all sonographer colleges do have a practical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which numerous schools set up with Opelika AL hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then have to fulfill the certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or whichever state you decide to practice in.
Sonogram Tech Online Schools
As previously mentioned, virtually all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a substantial part 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 satisfied by means of an internship at a local Opelika AL outpatient clinic, hospital or family practice. However the remainder of the classes and training can be attended online in your Opelika home. This is particularly convenient for those students that keep working while earning their degrees. Plus online schools are many times less expensive than on-campus alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced also. But similarly as with every sonography program you are looking at, verify that the online program you choose is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the comfort of your own home, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Ultrasound Tech Schools
Now that you have determined which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of assessing and comparing ultrasound tech schools. You will first probably want to decide whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a college campus in the Opelika AL area. Naturally location will be important if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualification as well. But there are additional factors that you should also take into account, for instance if the schools are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, following are a few questions that you need ask each sonographer college prior to making a decision.
Are the Sonogram Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician colleges have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still important to confirm 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). Schools earning accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also earn 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. Besides ensuring a superior education, accreditation will also help in securing financial aid and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Opelika AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry level jobs.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the sonogram tech colleges you are reviewing have partnerships with Opelika AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Opelika health care community and help with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but finding that first job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the sonographer programs you are assessing have job placement programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also confirms that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Opelika AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the sonogram technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the ultrasound tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech Program near Opelika AL?
If you are considering a Sonography Tech School near Opelika Alabama, following is some interesting background information about the location of your new school campus.
Opelika (pronounced /ˌoʊpəˈlaɪkə/ OH-pə-LY-kə) is a city in and the county seat of Lee County in the east central part of the State of Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. According to the 2013 Census Estimate, the population of Opelika was 28,635. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 150,933 which, along with the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area and Macon County, Alabama, comprises the Greater Columbus, Georgia, a region home to 501,649 residents.
The first white settlers in the area now known as Opelika arrived in the late 1830s and established a community called Lebanon. After the removal of the native Creek (Muscogee) peoples by federal troops in 1836-37, the area became known as "Opelika." This word taken from the Muskogee language means "large swamp".
In 1848, the Montgomery and West Point Railroad Company extended a rail line from Montgomery, Alabama, to Opelika, and in 1851, completed a connection to West Point, Georgia, thus connecting Opelika with Atlanta, Georgia. This line was the only direct rail route between New Orleans and the Eastern Seaboard. It rapidly became one of the primary trade lines for shipments of raw cotton from Southern plantations to the North. The Montgomery and West Point was soon joined by a rail connection to Columbus, Georgia, in 1855, and a connection to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1869. Almost overnight, Opelika became a regional hub for commerce.
To manage this rapid growth, Opelika was incorporated as a town on February 9, 1854, then within Russell County. As a result of Opelika's transportation infrastructure, many warehouses for storing cotton and other goods were built. With the onset of the Civil War, these warehouses were converted to Confederate supply depots. In 1864 and 1865, Union raids commanded by Lovell Rousseau and James H. Wilson attacked Opelika, tearing up the railroads and destroying all government property, including Opelika's warehouses.
Find the Right Diagnostic Medical Sonography Online Schools Accredited Opelika AL
Enrolling in the right ultrasound tech certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to launching a gratifying new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Along with meeting academic standards, you must be in at least fairly good physical health, capable of standing for extended periods and able to regularly lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it typically necessary to adjust patients and move heavy machines. Other beneficial talents include technical proficiency, the ability to remain calm when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Online Schools Accredited. However, as we have covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering. This is true whether you enroll in an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the appropriate questions so that you can assess each school, you will be able to 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 accomplish your goal to work as an ultrasound tech in Opelika AL.
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