How to Become a Sonographer | Ultrasound Tech Schools Bakersfield CA

Selecting an Ultrasound Technician Degree Program Bakersfield California

Bakersfield CA ultrasound tech with female patientSince you have made a decision to obtain an ultrasound technician degree near Bakersfield CA, the next step is to begin the procedure of choosing a college. First, you need to find the ideal program that will provide the proper instruction to become a qualified professional. And since some states do require that sonographers be either certified or licensed, depending on your residence you may also need to be prepared to pass a licensing or certification exam. So it’s extremely important that you research each college in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one start? Many students will start by searching for colleges that are within travelling distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Naturally location and cost should be considered when making a decision, but there are other important factors also. For example, if the ultrasound technician schools are accredited or if they offer internship programs. These and other qualifiers will be covered more in detail later in this post. But first, let’s discuss what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online training options that are available.

Sonogram Tech Work Description

ultrasound equipment in Bakersfield CAThere are various professional titles for ultrasound techs (technicians). They are also referred to as sonogram techs, diagnostic medical sonographers (or just sonographers) and ultrasound technologists. No matter what their title is, they all have the same primary job description, which is to perform diagnostic ultrasound procedures on patients. Although many work as generalists there are specialties within the field, for example in cardiology and pediatrics. Most practice in Bakersfield CA clinics, hospitals, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Common daily work duties of a sonogram tech may include:

  • Preserving records of patient case histories and specifics of each procedure
  • Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
  • Prepping the ultrasound machines for use and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
  • Moving patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
  • Utilizing equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
  • Assessing results and identifying necessity for additional testing

Sonographers must routinely evaluate the safety and performance of their equipment. They also must adhere to a high ethical standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. In order to maintain that level of professionalism and remain up to date with medical knowledge, they are required to complete continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.

Sonogram Technician Degrees Offered

Sonogram tech students 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 dependent on the program and class load. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at as long as four years to complete. Another alternative for those who have previously 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 related medical sector, you can instead choose a certificate program that will require just 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to keep in mind is that almost all sonographer schools do have a clinical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be satisfied by taking part in an internship program which numerous schools organize through Bakersfield CA clinics and hospitals. Once you have graduated from one of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to satisfy the certification or licensing prerequisites in California or whatever state you choose to work in.

What to Ask Sonogram Tech Programs

Bakersfield CA sonographer with pregnant womanOnce you have determined the type of certificate or degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the procedure of assessing and comparing ultrasound technician schools. You may first want to choose whether you will access classes online or travel to a school campus in the Bakersfield CA area. Certainly location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the cost of tuition undoubtedly will be an important qualifier also. But there are additional things that you should also take into account, such as if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. Therefore in order to carry out your due diligence so that you can make your final selection, below are several questions that you need ask each sonography program prior to making a decision.

Are the Ultrasound Tech Programs Accredited? Most ultrasound technician colleges have earned some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Even so, it’s still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have gone through a detailed review of their instructors and course materials. If the program is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting organizations should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also assist in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Bakersfield CA employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level openings.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the ultrasound technician schools you are evaluating have associations with Bakersfield CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a way to fulfill the clinical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Bakersfield medical community and assist with obtaining employment.

Is Job Placement Assistance offered? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but finding that initial job in a new profession can be challenging without assistance. Find out if the sonographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with California healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their students are well regarded and in demand.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Bakersfield CA residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical 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 an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the ultrasound tech  program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bakersfield CA area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Sonogram Tech Online Classes

woman attending ultrasound technician school online in Bakersfield CAAs aforementioned, virtually all sonogram technician colleges have a clinical requirement to their programs. So while you can receive a degree or certificate online, a substantial portion of the training will be either held in an on-campus lab or at a sponsored off-campus facility. Clinical training can often be fulfilled through an internship at a local Bakersfield CA hospital, outpatient clinic or private practice. However the rest of the classes and training can be attended online in your Bakersfield home. This is particularly beneficial for those students that keep working while getting their degrees. In addition online schools are many times less expensive than traditional options. Costs for study materials and commuting can be decreased as well. But just as with every sonography program you are considering, make sure that the online program you ultimately pick is accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and finding employment (more on accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to attend classes away from the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then an online school may be the ideal option for you.

Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Bakersfield CA?

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

Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield is a city and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2)[13] near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 380,000,[10] making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States.[14] The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of over 500,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.

The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county,[15] and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States.[16] Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices.[17] The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.

Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years.[18] The Yokuts lived in lodges[19] along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley.[20] The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.[21]

Choose the Best Sonographer Program Bakersfield CA

Picking the right ultrasound technician certificate or degree program is an important first step to commencing a gratifying new profession furnishing diagnostic services to patients. Sonographer schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to satisfying academic standards, you need to be in at least fairly good physical health, able to stand for prolonged durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of 50 pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to position patients and maneuver heavy machinery. Other helpful skills include technical aptitude, the ability to keep collected 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 college you are looking at. This holds true whether you select an online degree or drive to the school campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can assess each program, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives until you are left with the best program for your education. And with the right training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can accomplish your objective to practice as an ultrasound tech in Bakersfield CA.

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