Ultrasound Tech Schools

Many people are familiar with the ultrasound because of its use during pregnancy. Ultrasound images often the way that mothers and fathers see their unborn children for the first time. But there are many other uses for ultrasound in the health care industry. They are used in diagnosing heart problems and internal injuries and are increasingly used in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. Consequently, ultrasound techs are in high demand. Technicians must know how to use the latest technology, however, so they should choose an ultrasound tech school with care.

Ultrasound technologists use the equipment that emits sound waves into a patientís body to diagnose illness and injury in soft tissue. These sound waves bounce off the internal organs and systems and are reflected back in an echo that creates a visual image. Ultrasound techs, in cooperation with physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel, evaluate the images. It is a highly reliable diagnostic technique that will likely continue to grow in usefulness.

One of the main choices facing matriculating students at ultrasound tech schools is whether to specialize or not. There are many job titles in the ultrasound world, from ultrasound techs to diagnostic medical sonographers to cardiovascular technicians. Students can specialize in ultrasound use for OB-GYN (obstetrics and gynecology), the branch of medicine dedicated to womenís health and pregnancy. Ultrasound use is prevalent in cardiovascular care, focusing the technology on diseases and ailments of the heart and its support systems. Specializing in a particular field can improve a candidateís employability as well have a positive impact on earnings.

Most working ultrasound technicians have an associateís degree, a bachelorís degree, or a certificate from a reputable ultrasound tech school. Degree holders can take extra course work in a specialty such as abdominal sonography and focus on ailments of the stomach and intestines, or might choose to specialize in neurosonography, diagnosing conditions that affect the nervous system. The most popular specialization is the obstetric and gynecological focus. Specialization gives candidates more options when they are considering employment in addition to working as a general ultrasound tech at large employers and hospitals.

Another consideration when choosing an ultrasound tech school is the time and cost involved in getting your education. Reputation matters a good deal when seeking employment. An associateís degree in ultrasound studies typically takes 24 months to complete. Certificate programs in diagnostic medical ultrasound can take less time if the candidate already has a degree. Online degrees offer flexibility, but choosing to work and study simultaneously can extend the amount of time it takes to acquire a degree, and more time usually means more cost. After all, you will still need to pay for housing, food, and other expenses before you can take advantage of the increased salary a job as an ultrasound tech promises. Tuition for online degrees and certificates can be significantly cheaper than costs associated with brick and mortar education; for example, rent for classrooms and facilities; sanitation for facilities and grounds; and utilities for those facilities arenít required. Online education programs are cheaper to run and much of the savings can be passed on to students. Extending the number of years it takes to acquire a degree can make it more expensive. Finally, people are less likely to complete their degrees the more time they put off finishing required credits.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014