How to Become a Sonographer | Ultrasound Tech Schools Helena AR

Finding an Ultrasound Technician College Helena Arkansas

Helena AR ultrasound tech with female patientNow that you have decided to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Helena AR, the next step is to begin the procedure of picking a school. First, you need to find the ideal program that will provide the proper instruction to become a skilled professional. And because some states do require that sonographers be either licensed or certified, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it’s extremely important that you research each school so that you can evaluate and compare your choices. But just where does one begin? Most prospective students will start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally cost and location should be considered when making a decision, but there are other significant factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they provide internships. These and additional qualifiers will be discussed more in depth later in this post. But first, let’s review what a sonogram tech does and the credentials and online training programs that are available.

Ultrasound Technician Work Description

ultrasound equipment in Helena ARThere are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as ultrasound technologists, sonogram techs, and diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers). Regardless of name, they all have the same primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. While a number of techs work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most practice in Helena AR hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Routine daily work functions of a sonogram tech may consist of:

  • Preserving records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
  • Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
  • Readying the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
  • Escorting patients to treatment rooms and ensuring their comfort
  • Using equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
  • Assessing results and determining need for further testing

Sonographers must routinely assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also must adhere to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that degree of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to enroll in continuing education courses on a regular basis.

Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs Available

Ultrasound tech enrollees have the choice to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will typically require about 18 months to 2 years to finish depending on the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to complete. Another option for those who have already obtained a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have received a Bachelor’s Degree in any major or an Associate Degree in a relevant medical field, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to consider is that most ultrasound technician schools do have a practical training component as part of their course of study. It often may be satisfied by participating in an internship program which numerous colleges organize with Helena AR hospitals and clinics. Once you have graduated from one of the certificate or degree programs, you will then need to fulfill the certification or licensing requirements in Arkansas or whichever state you choose to practice in.

Topics to Ask Ultrasound Technician Programs

Helena AR sonographer with pregnant womanAfter you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can initiate the procedure of assessing and comparing sonogram technician colleges. You may first want to choose whether you would rather attend classes online or commute to a college campus in the Helena AR area. Obviously location will be important if you choose the latter, and the cost of tuition no doubt will be an important qualifier also. But there are additional factors that you should also take into consideration, for instance if the schools are accredited and if they offer internship programs. So in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your ultimate selection, following are several questions that you may want to ask each sonographer school prior to making a decision.

Are the Ultrasound Tech Colleges Accredited? The majority of ultrasound technician colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Even so, it’s still important to make sure that the school and program are accredited. One of 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 receiving accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Helena AR health facilities will only hire graduates of an accredited school for entry-level positions.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the sonogram technician colleges you are interested in have relationships with Helena AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a means to satisfy the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Helena medical community and help with job placement.

Is Job Placement Assistance provided? You will probably want to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without help. Ask if the sonographer programs you are interviewing have job placement programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Arkansas healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their graduates are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Helena AR home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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 don’t reside within their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.

Does the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the sonographer  school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Helena AR area, confirm that they are offered. 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, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Ultrasound Tech Online Colleges

woman attending ultrasound technician school online in Helena ARAs previously mentioned, nearly all sonogram technician colleges have a practical requirement to their programs. So while you can obtain a degree or certificate online, a significant portion of the training will be either conducted in an on campus lab or at an authorized off-campus facility. Clinical training can typically be fulfilled through an internship at a local Helena AR outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be accessed online in your Helena home. This is particularly convenient for those individuals that continue working while earning their degrees. In addition online colleges are many times less expensive than traditional options. Expenses for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But similarly as with any sonography program you are considering, 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 especially important for certification, licensing and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to learn away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes may be the right option for you.

Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Helena AR?

If you are considering a Sonography Tech School in the Helena Arkansas area, following is some interesting history and background information about the location of your new school campus.

Helena–West Helena, Arkansas

Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States.[3] The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.[4]

The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.

A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.[5]

Pick the Best Ultrasound Tech College Helena AR

Choosing the right sonographer degree or certificate program is a vital first step to initiating a rewarding new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound tech colleges require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. Along with meeting academic requirements, you must be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for prolonged durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and move heavy equipment. Other desirable talents include technical proficiency, the ability to keep levelheaded when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse in a clear and compassionate manner. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each school you are reviewing. This holds true whether you choose an online degree or commute to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can evaluate each school, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal school for your education. And with the right training, discipline and motivation to succeed, you can reach your goal to practice as an ultrasound tech in Helena AR.

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