Like any skilled profession it takes a lot of time and effort to learn the necessary skills in order to become proficient and qualified. Although sonographers have the opportunity to undergo some shorter courses (around 2 years) compared to some other medical careers, their career is no less skilled or important. So how can these programs teach sonography in these timespans and what are the benefits of learning at an offline or online ultrasound technician school?
What does a sonography school teach?
Well if I really wanted to write a short article, I could simply say it teaches people how to become an ultrasound technician and finish right here. However given that I can imagine a lynch mob with pitchforks charging my door and I quite enjoy the use of my legs I’ll explain further.
For anyone who has been researching into these schools you will have read that the first and most important part of your research is to find out if both the school and training program you are looking at is accredited. Although yes it is possible to become a technician without accreditation, the job prospects are far better for those which are accredited and this is one of the main ways you can easily increase your sonographer salary.
The actual course content that the program provides will vary between institutions however being accredited they will all cover the generalities that are needed in your future day to day work. This is one of the major benefits for this kind of program, although in other subjects education can be quite theoretical with little grounding in real world application it is not so for sonography training programs. Due in part to the time constraints they have cut the course to the essential training that is required to do your job efficiently, accurately and safely in a real world environment. This includes but is not limited to:
- Human physiology and abnormalities.
- How to use an ultrasound machine and maintain it
- Scanning methods and techniques
- Administration such as how to complete patient reports and medical records
- Bedside manner and providing quality patient care
This is just a preliminary listing and if you look at any ultrasound technician college prospectus they will provide a far more detailed course structure and information such as in this video.
How can they fit all this sonography training into such a short timeframe?
Although there are short courses available, some for as little as one year, they are not all this length. It is possible to undergo a full degree program which takes 4 years and is another way to increase your earning potential in the future. This course is obviously more detailed and provides a far better overview of the subject than the shorter courses; however there are reasons why you can practice the same career with a shorter training time. The 1-2 year courses often require several prerequisites that can mean you do not start from scratch knowing nothing about medicine or biology. This allows the schools to cut out some of the beginner knowledge that might be included in longer courses.
The main reason is however that they are vocational courses with a period of internship at the end. Technically you could say that this is still included in any training programs length however I would disagree. The internship is a paid job opportunity where you will be essentially working in your chosen career path. The only difference from that and being fully qualified is that you will be watched by an experienced sonographer while practicing. This way of learning can be of great benefit to those who learn better while doing as opposed to sitting in lecture halls listening to theory rather than doing it with their hands. It is also of obvious benefit to those who want to change career path however need to pay the bills and so wish to get paid work as soon as possible.
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