How to Choose the Right Ultrasound Technician College near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have decided 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 need to find the right program that will furnish the proper training to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it’s very important that you research each college in order to evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one start? A number of individuals will start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Certainly cost and location need to be considered when arriving at a decision, but there are other significant factors also. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internships. These and additional qualifiers will be discussed more in detail later in this article. But first, let’s review what an ultrasound tech does and the credentials and online training options that are available.
Sonographer 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. Regardless of name, they all have the same basic job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Even though many work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. Most work in Opelika AL hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily job functions of a sonogram technician may include:
- Preserving records of patient medical histories and specifics 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
- Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
- Evaluating results and identifying necessity for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must routinely assess the performance and safety of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as health practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to enroll in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Offered
Sonogram tech enrollees have the option to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will usually take about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish based upon the program and class load. A Bachelor’s Degree will require more time at as long as four years to finalize. Another option for those who have already received 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 medical sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to consider is that most sonographer schools do have a clinical training element as a portion of their curriculum. It often may be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which numerous colleges set up with Opelika AL hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to satisfy the licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or whichever state you decide to practice in.
Online Ultrasound Technician Colleges
As previously mentioned, almost all sonogram technician schools have a clinical requirement to their programs. So although you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either conducted in an on campus laboratory or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Clinical training can often be satisfied through an internship at a local Opelika AL hospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. However the balance of the training and classes can be attended online in your Opelika home. This is especially convenient for those students that keep working while earning their degrees. In addition online programs are often less costly than on campus options. Costs for commuting and study materials can be lessened also. But just as with every ultrasound tech school you are looking at, confirm that the online school you enroll in 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 dedicated enough to learn outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Sonogram Tech Schools
After you have determined which certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of evaluating and comparing sonogram tech schools. You will first probably want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Opelika AL area. Clearly location will be significant if you select the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualifier also. But there are other variables that you must also take into account, for instance if the programs are accredited and if they sponsor internship programs. Therefore in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are a few questions that you may want to ask each sonographer college prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Technician Colleges Accredited? A large number of sonogram technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. However, it’s still important to verify that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting organizations 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 gone through a detailed review of their teachers and course materials. If the school is online it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And many Opelika AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry level jobs.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the sonogram technician colleges you are reviewing have associations with Opelika AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional connections in the Opelika health care community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in a new field can be difficult without assistance. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are interviewing have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Opelika AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the sonographer college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Degree Opelika Alabama
Choosing the ideal sonographer certificate or degree program is a crucial first step to entering a rewarding new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have earned a high school diploma or a GED. Apart from satisfying academic standards, you should be in at least reasonably good physical health, able to stand for lengthy periods with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and move heavy machines. Other beneficial talents include technical aptitude, the ability to stay levelheaded when faced with an angry or anxious patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Diagnostic Medical Sonography Degree and wanting more information on Ultrasound Training Program. However, as we have discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are reviewing. This holds true whether you choose an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the proper questions so that you can evaluate each program, you can narrow down your alternatives 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 objective to work as an ultrasound technologist in Opelika AL.
More Ultrasound Locations in Alabama
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.