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Getting Into Sonography Schools

By: CareerFactsheet.com- Updated: Jul 17, 2012

Ultrasound technicians, also commonly referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, utilize ultrasound technology to scan patient’s bodies. The sound waves from the ultrasound equipment create images of the patient's internal organs and structures. These images are then sent to physicians for examination. Ultrasound technicians are employed in hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics and in mobile ultrasound units nationwide. The need for well-trained ultrasound technicians in America has taken off over the last couple of years.

Prospective ultrasound applicants must first complete the educational requirements, and then pass a national certification examination. This test is governed by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The options for education include a two-year Associates degree, Bachelor's degree and a one-year certification program. The certification program is usually taken by people who have been in healthcare for some time.

Online Ultrasound Technician Education

The popularity of online education has increased tremendously with the invention of new technology. Online education is a convenient option for working adults, and for people who lack the time to attend a traditional campus setting. The Internet can now bring education into your living room.

There are many online schools available for someone who's considering an education in ultrasound imaging. The key is that you need to know where to look.

Factors of Online Ultrasound Technician Education

Sonography Schools

Before choosing an online ultrasound program, make sure the school is accredited with the Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The AAHEP regulates both online and traditional schools in order to make sure the course content complies with current industry standards.

In addition to accreditation, there are other factors to investigate when choosing an online program:

  • Schedule – Many institutions operate on different schedules such as quarter or semester units. Some online schools are even set up to adjust to the students own schedule.
  • Technology – Since your online education depends upon the use of your home computer, it's incumbent upon you to understand technology. You must also know what type of system requirements your school requires for your computer.
  • Accreditation – We've talked about this before, but it's a point well worth repeating. Make sure you do your due diligence regarding the proper accreditation of your school.
  • Tuition – Just as all education is not created equal, tuition can vary widely among schools. When choosing the pros and cons of a program, tuition often plays an important factor.
  • Clinical Exposure – This is another important factor to consider in your education program. All ultrasound technician programs require a clinical practicum at some point during training. Students will have to attend on-site clinics and work with experienced ultrasound experts to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Online Ultrasound Courses

Online ultrasound courses are typically offered in a lecture style and formatted for an interactive web environment. Correspondence with instructors is through e-mail and web applications.

Most of the education can be completed online; however, some on-site clinical instruction will be necessary. Here is a sample of some of the courses offered at most online schools:

  • Medical Ethics – This class provides students with legal guidelines and regulations specific to the healthcare industry. It also discusses relevant laws related to duties as an ultrasound technician.
  • Diagnostics – This course will provide specific detail and instruction regarding ultrasound equipment and diagnostic imaging. You will also be instructed on how to identify abnormalities and conditions in the human body.
  • Anatomy – This course will teach you how to look at flat and sectional images that are seen regularly in ultrasound examinations.

Your online education will consist of several core curriculum classes that are relevant to your job as an ultrasound technician. While these courses are usually similar at most institutions, you will also be exposed to classes that are specific to your chosen specialty of study.

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