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How to Become a Sonographer | Ultrasound Tech Schools Unity ME

Selecting an Ultrasound Technician Training Program Unity Maine

Unity ME ultrasound tech with female patientSince you have made a decision to pursue an ultrasound technician degree near Unity ME, the next step is to start the process of selecting a school. To begin with, you need to find the right program that will provide the necessary training to become a qualified professional. And because a number of states do mandate that ultrasound techs be either certified or licensed, depending on where you will practice you may also need preparation to pass a certification or licensing examination. So it’s very important that you research each school in order to evaluate and compare your alternatives. But exactly where does one begin? Most individuals will start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their homes and then by comparing tuition. Of course cost and location should be taken into account when making a decision, but there are other important factors as well. Such as, if the ultrasound technician schools have earned accreditation or if they offer internship programs. These and additional qualifiers will be addressed more in depth later in this post. But to start with, let’s review what an ultrasound tech does and the degrees and online education programs that are available.

Ultrasound Tech Occupation Description

ultrasound equipment in Unity METhere are more than one 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 perform diagnostic ultrasound testing on patients. While a number of techs practice as generalists there are specialties within the profession, for instance in cardiology and pediatrics. Most work in Unity ME hospitals, clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers and even private practices. Typical daily work duties of a sonogram tech may consist of:

  • Keeping records of patient medical histories and specifics of each procedure
  • Counseling patients by explaining the procedures and answering questions
  • Preparing the ultrasound machines for usage and then sterilizing and recalibrating them
  • Escorting patients to treatment rooms and making them comfortable
  • Operating equipment while limiting patient exposure to sound waves
  • Reviewing the results and identifying necessity for additional testing

Ultrasound techs must routinely assess the safety and performance of their machines. They also are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct as medical practitioners. So as to sustain that level of professionalism and stay current with medical knowledge, they are mandated to complete continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.

Sonogram Tech Degree Programs Available

Sonogram tech students have the option to acquire either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree. An Associate Degree will normally take around 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor’s Degree will take longer at up to four years to complete. Another alternative for those who have previously received a college degree is a post graduate certificate program. If you have earned 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 only 12 to 18 months to complete. One thing to keep in mind is that most sonographer programs do have a practical training element as part of their curriculum. It can often be fulfilled by entering into an internship program which many colleges set up through Unity ME hospitals and clinics. When you have graduated from any of the degree or certificate programs, you will then have to fulfill the certification or licensing prerequisites in Maine or whichever state you choose to work in.

Points to Ask Sonography Schools

Unity ME sonographer with pregnant womanWhen you have decided on which degree or certificate that you would like to obtain, you can start the process of evaluating and comparing ultrasound technician schools. You will first probably want to choose whether you will attend classes online or travel to a college campus in the Unity ME area. Naturally location will be critical if you decide on the latter, and the price of tuition no doubt will be an initial qualifier as well. But there are additional variables that you must also take into account, for example if the colleges are accredited and if they sponsor internships. So in order to perform your due diligence so that you can arrive at your ultimate selection, below are several questions that you need ask each ultrasound tech school prior to making a decision.

Are the Sonogram Technician Programs Accredited? A large number of sonogram tech schools have earned some form of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly respected accrediting agencies in the field of sonography is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Schools obtaining accreditation from the JRC-DMS have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and educational materials. If the school is online it can also earn 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. In addition to ensuring a premium education, accreditation will also help in acquiring financial aid and student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And numerous Unity ME employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level positions.

Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the sonogram technician colleges you are assessing have associations with Unity ME clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for most programs. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Unity healthcare community and assist with job placement.

Is Job Placement Help available? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but getting that first job in a new profession can be difficult without support. Ask if the ultrasound tech schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are a good sign that the schools have large networks and good relationships with Maine healthcare employers. It also confirms that their students are highly regarded and sought after.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Unity ME home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the ultrasound tech program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the ultrasound tech  program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Unity ME area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Online Ultrasound Tech Programs

woman attending ultrasound technician school online in Unity MEAs aforementioned, almost all ultrasound technician colleges have a clinical component to their programs. So while you can earn a degree or certificate online, a significant part of the training will be either held in an on-campus lab or at a sponsored off campus medical care provider. Practical training can usually be fulfilled by means of an internship at a local Unity ME outpatient clinic, hospital or private practice. However the balance of the training and classes may be attended online in your Unity home. This is particularly convenient for those students that continue working while getting their degrees. Plus online schools are often less costly than on campus options. Costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced as well. But similarly as with any sonographer college you are looking at, make sure that the online program you choose is accredited. Among the most highly respected accrediting organizations is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accreditation is particularly significant for licensing, certification and job placement (more on accreditation later). So if you are disciplined enough to attend classes outside of the classroom in the convenience of your own home, then online classes could be the ideal choice for you.

Considering Enrolling in an Ultrasound Tech School near Unity ME?

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

Unity, Maine

Unity is a town in Waldo County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,099 at the 2010 census. The town is the service center for the northern portion of Waldo County. Outside of Waldo county, it is best known as the home of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, its Common Ground Country Fair and Unity College. Unity College was founded in 1965 to offset the economic effects of the declining chicken farming industry. As of 2007, the college is the town's largest employer.

When originally settled by Quakers, the town was known as Twenty-Five Mile Pond Plantation. The name came from its being located on a pond twenty-five miles from Fort Halifax in Winslow. The name was changed to Unity upon incorporation as a town in 1804. In 1898, the Village School was opened. It remained in operation until 1953 when it closed and a new elementary school was built.

In 1996, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) purchased 200 acres of land in Unity, where it is now based. The MOFGA-run Common Ground Country Fair moved with the organization and annually brings more than 50,000 visitors to the town.

Pick the Right Ultrasound Tech College Unity ME

Choosing the ideal ultrasound technician degree or certificate program is an important first step to initiating a gratifying new profession providing diagnostic services to patients. Ultrasound technician schools require that you have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to meeting academic requirements, you need to be in at least fairly good physical condition, able to stand for extended durations with the ability to routinely lift weights of fifty pounds or more, as is it frequently necessary to adjust patients and maneuver heavy equipment. Other beneficial skills include technical aptitude, the ability to stay collected when confronted by an anxious or angry patient and the ability to converse clearly and compassionately. As we have discussed in this post, there are multiple questions that you should ask each college you are considering. This is true whether you select an online program or travel to the college campus to attend classes. And by asking the right questions so that you can compare each college, you will be able to narrow down your choices until you are left with the ideal program for your education. And with the proper training, discipline and determination to succeed, you can achieve your objective to practice as an ultrasound technologist in Unity ME.

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