How to Find the Right Sonogram Tech School near Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania
Once you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Lehigh Valley PA, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a college. To begin with, you need to find the ideal program that will provide the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And because a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it’s extremely important that you research each college so that you can evaluate and compare your alternatives. But just where does one begin? Most students will begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residences and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost should be taken into account when arriving at a decision, but there are additional significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they provide internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But to start with, let’s discuss what a sonogram tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.
Ultrasound Technician Work Description
There are several 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 implement diagnostic ultrasound techniques on patients. Although a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for example in pediatrics and cardiology. The majority practice in Lehigh Valley PA hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. Typical daily job duties of a sonogram tech can include:
- Keeping records of patient medical histories and details of each procedure
- Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
- Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then cleaning and re-calibrating them
- Transferring patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
- Operating equipment while minimizing patient exposure to sound waves
- Reviewing the results and determining need for additional testing
Ultrasound techs must frequently evaluate the safety and performance of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on a regular basis.
Sonogram Technician Degrees Available
Ultrasound tech students have the option to acquire either an Associate or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will generally take about 18 months to 2 years to accomplish dependent on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will require more time at as long as 4 years to finish. Another alternative for individuals who have previously received a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant health sector, you can enroll in a certificate program that will take only 12 to 18 months to finish. One thing to consider is that almost all ultrasound technician programs do have a clinical training component as part of their curriculum. It often may be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which many schools organize through Lehigh Valley PA hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then need to satisfy the certification or licensing requirements in Pennsylvania or whatever state you choose to work in.
Online Ultrasound Tech Classes
As aforementioned, almost all ultrasound tech schools have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can earn a certificate or degree online, a significant part of the training will be either carried out in an on-campus lab or at an authorized off-campus medical care provider. Practical training can often be satisfied through an internship at a local Lehigh Valley PA hospital, outpatient clinic or family practice. But the balance of the classes and training can be accessed online in your Lehigh Valley home. This is particularly convenient for those students that keep working while getting their degrees. In addition online schools are often more affordable than traditional alternatives. Expenditures for study materials and commuting can be reduced as well. But just as with every sonography college you are looking at, check that the online program you select is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly crucial for certification, licensing 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 an online degree may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Sonography Colleges
When you have determined the type of degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of reviewing and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to choose whether you would rather access classes online or commute to a school campus in the Lehigh Valley PA area. Naturally location will be important if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualification also. But there are additional factors that you must also take into account, for instance if the colleges are accredited and if they provide internships. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can arrive at your final selection, following are some questions that you may want to ask each sonography program prior to making a decision.
Are the Ultrasound Tech Schools Accredited? The majority of ultrasound tech schools have received some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still crucial 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 receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone an extensive examination of their teachers and educational materials. If the school is online it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which targets distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Lehigh Valley PA health facilities will only hire a graduate of an accredited program for entry-level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the ultrasound technician programs you are assessing have partnerships with Lehigh Valley PA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a way to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Lehigh Valley healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help available? You will undoubtedly wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Pennsylvania healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Lehigh Valley PA home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the sonogram tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the ultrasound tech college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lehigh Valley PA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Ultrasound Technician Training Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania
Enrolling in the ideal ultrasound tech degree or certificate program is an important first step to entering a fulfilling new profession delivering diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to meeting academic standards, you need to be in at least reasonably good physical condition, capable of standing for lengthy durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it often necessary to position patients and move heavy machines. Additional beneficial talents include technical proficiency, the ability to remain collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Ultrasound Technician Training and wanting more information on Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate Degree. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of questions that you should ask each program you are looking at. This is the case whether you enroll in an online program or drive 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 ideal school for your education. And with the proper training, dedication and determination to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to work as an ultrasound tech in Lehigh Valley PA.
More Ultrasound Locations in Pennsylvania
The Lehigh Valley (/ˈliːhaɪ/), known officially by the United States Census Bureau and the United States Office of Management and Budget as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area and referred to colloquially as The Valley, is a metropolitan region officially consisting of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren county on the western edge of New Jersey, in the Eastern United States. The Lehigh Valley's largest city, with a population of 120,443 residents, is Allentown.
The Lehigh Valley is the third most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state of Pennsylvania with a population of 821,173 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census which increased to 841,913 residents in 2018 according to the latest U.S. Census Estimate. The region is eclipsed in total population in Pennsylvania only by the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas. It is the 64th most populated metropolitan area in the United States. Lehigh County, the Valley's largest county in terms of overall population, is among the fastest growing in the state and, as of 2010–2012, ranks in the 79th percentile for population growth nationally. The core population centers are located in southern and central Lehigh and Northampton counties along U.S. Route 22 and Interstate 78. The Lehigh Valley is proximate to two of the nation's largest cities: New York City, which is about 75 miles to its east, and Philadelphia, which is 50 miles to its southeast.
In March 2014, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the United States. It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as being among the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations for companies, such as call centers and IT support. Allentown, the region's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation, one of only six communities nationwide to achieve this distinction.
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