Ultrasound technician schools are gaining a lot of attention as the job market for professionals in the arena continues to grow. However, not all programs are created equal and knowing how to weed out the bad seeds will help you ensure a quality education.
It is an exciting time to break into the field, with such promising job numbers on the horizon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, credentialed medical sonographers can expect to make upward of $64,000 a year. That’s a great salary for an occupation with such growing need. The BLS also estimates job opportunities to grow by 44 percent through 2020.
Of course, getting a foot in the door requires certification on multiple fronts. A degree or a certificate is the first step, but prospective technicians will also need to obtain certification through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This group administers industry-recognized credentials to those who have earned a degree or certificate through accredited ultrasound technician schools.
What to Look For in Ultrasound Technician Schools
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is a national credentialing agency tasked with accrediting ultrasound technician schools all over the country. Every school must meet rigorous guidelines to receive accreditation to ensure the program is adequately preparing students for a career in sonography.
The board of directors has 15 elected members who either reward or deny a school accreditation based on whether they meet the strict educational standards.
Choosing an accredited school means you picked an institution that passed a slew of quality benchmarks and underwent thorough review. That’s why most hospitals require a degree or certificate from an accredited institution before hiring a technician.
The ADRMS also has strict guidelines when it comes to credentialing graduates. An accredited degree and a certain amount of clinical experience is needed to earn certification as a Registered Medical Diagnostic Sonographer (RMDS).
Applying For Ultrasound Technician Schools
Once you’ve narrowed your list of CAAHEP accredited schools down to your top three, it’s time to begin the application process. many students pick a 18 to 19 month program that provides an Associate of Applied Science Degree. This provides enough education to break into the field, but many sonographers pursue their bachelor’s degree after working in the industry a couple years.This will help increase earning potential and opportunity for career advancement.
Accredited programs typically require a high school diploma, GED and a certain proficiency in math and science. If your math and science skills aren’t up to snuff, most schools provide courses designed to get those skills where they need to be.
After you have determined how much you want to pay for tuition, and how much of a debt load you are willing to take on, you can apply at the ultrsound technician schools that most closely match your needs.
Many applications can be completed online and may come with a fee. Application fees cover the administrative costs of processing applications and ensuring all the required documents are included and accurate.
It’s important to have all your documentation saved and ready for easy electronic submission. If you are applying to multiple schools, you could potentially lose a good amount of money if you are forced to resubmit an application due to incompleteness.
You’ll also want to carefully read your school’s admission requirements before you apply to make sure you meet all the criteria. This criteria varies from school to school and if you don’t meet that criteria, you could be out your application fee.