Ultrasound Tech and Sonography Schools
If you're interested in a career in medical digital imaging or want to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, you will need to complete your training at one of the country's top ultrasound technician schools. Most ultrasound tech schools offer both associates and bachelors degree programs, and a good portion of the training involves hands-on learning. Ultrasound technicians are trained to use several types of specialty equipment to produce images of different parts of the body. These images are typically used by doctors, physicians and other medical professionals to detect a problem or diagnose an illness.
Ultrasound Technician School Training
Most schools require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED before they apply to the technician training program. If you have previous experience in the healthcare profession, you may be able to complete your training in just one year. If you are entering school for the first time, you will most likely enter a two-year associate's degree program or a four-year undergraduate degree program.
The types of ultrasound technician training programs include:
- One-year certificates or diploma programs
- Two-year associate's degree programs
- Four-year bachelor's degree programs
Students who are already radiologic technologists or obstetric nurses can increase their marketability by completing a one-year certification program.
Most students who attend an ultrasound technician school are strong in math and science, especially the core sciences such as chemistry, physiology, anatomy, biology and physics. Students take several courses in patient care and must learn basic medical terminology used in sonography and medical imaging procedures. Ultrasound physics course also make up a good portion of the curriculum. Almost all ultrasound technician schools have a practicum or clinical component. These courses may take place in a doctor's office, hospital or a lab setting, and give students a chance to monitor problems, work with patients and doctors, and learn how the diagnostic imaging process works during the patient consultation and treatment process.
Some of the key course requirements include vascular ultrasound, sectional anatomy, physiology of the heart, ultrasound physics and gynecology ultrasound. Most ultrasound training programs also give students a chance to work with three-dimensional applications, operate some of the latest ultrasound machines, and take courses in sound transmission.
Choosing Between Different Ultrasound Tech Schools
Not all schools that offer an ultrasound technician program offer the same type of curriculum or maintain a high standard of training. When you are comparing different ultrasound tech schools and training programs, you will need to consider the following:
- Accreditation - determine whether the school has been accredited by the CAAHEP
- Amount of practical experience required - how much time will be spent in a lab setting or practicing using different programs and equipment?
- Class size - how many students are enrolled in the program at any given time, and what is the average class size? If you're the type of student that needs more time with the teacher or one-on-one training, you need to find a school that has a very small student-to-teacher ratio.
- Graduate success rates - how many graduates of the tech school have become ARDMS-certified? Find out what the graduate success rate is.
- Core subjects - not all ultrasound technician training programs are the same, so you need to make sure you understand what core subjects will be covered and what the main area of focus is.
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