Ultrasound technicians, sometimes referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, operate sonography equipment, which uses high-frequency sound to produce images of patients' bodies. Technicians produce and record sonographic images for later use by physicians in diagnosis and treatment. Ultrasound techs must be familiar both with the equipment that they use to produce images and the medical and physiological issues that their images will be used to diagnose.
These medical workers help diagnose issues in many different medical specialty areas, including obstetrics, cardiology, vascular medicine, and musculoskeletal structure. Ultrasound techs are also required to interact with patients during procedures, so training programs typically include components focused on interpersonal relationships.
Arizona Ultrasound Technician Schools
Earning an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography helps prepare graduates to work as entry-level technicians in clinics, hospitals, imaging centers, or outpatient medical facilities. These programs typically take two years or more to complete, and graduation from an accredited program makes the student eligible to take professional certification exams. Certificate programs are generally intended for professionals already working in the field, or who already have a degree in a related health care field and wish to add sonography certification to their qualifications.
The following Arizona school offers several training options for students interested in entering the field of diagnostic medical sonography:
- GateWay Community College: The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at GateWay Community College is the only accredited program in the state of Arizona. The program is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS), and graduates are eligible to sit for ARDMS certification exams in Abdomen and Obstetrics/Gynecology sonography. The program offers an Associate degree option in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, as well as two different Certificate of Completion options: Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Both the Associate degree program and the DMS Certificate program require 21 months to complete, and both programs qualify graduates to sit for the ARDMS exams. GateWay's Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs are available at the college's Washington, Arizona, campus.
What to Expect from Arizona Sonography Programs
Students in ultrasound technician training programs should expect instruction in basic science courses, including biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and physics. Admission to programs is often competitive, and admissions officers may give preference to applicants who are already employed in related fields, hold degrees in related areas, or have prior backgrounds in science- or health-related coursework. Accepted students may also be required to complete prerequisite courses before beginning sonography programs.
In addition to basic coursework, students can expect to gain training in specialized medical areas, such as:
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Cardiac sonography
- Vascular sonography
- Abdominal sonography
- Technical aspects of ultrasound
Most programs also include an internship to provide participants with hands-on clinical experience prior to graduation. Such clinical experience is a requirement for certification exam eligibility.
Arizona Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
Ultrasound technicians in Arizona do not need a license issued by a governmental agency in order to practice professionally. However, sonographers must hold a certification from either the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) in order to be considered for employment in the state.
Prerequisites for certification include graduation from an accredited training program and successful completion of multiple certification exams. To earn the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification, students must pass both a basic exam and a specialization exam. Further specialized certifications for experienced technicians are also available.
Resources for Ultrasound Technicians in Arizona