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If you're interested in a career in the health care industry, and enjoy working with cutting-edge technology, you might consider training as an ultrasound technician. Also called sonographers, ultrasound technicians perform diagnostic tests on patients using sophisticated ultrasound machines. These machines create pictures of internal organs and other tissues using high-frequency sound waves. Health care professionals then use these images to diagnose, treat, and monitor a variety of medical conditions, from pregnancy to cancer to heart disease.

Nebraska Ultrasound Technician Schools

To ensure you are able to find employment and qualify for certification, only enroll in sonography programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Nebraska offers three programs with CAAHEP accreditation:

  • Bryan College of Health Sciences: College Choice named Bryan College's sonography program in its list of Top 15 Ultrasound Technician Schools. The program emphasizes clinical training, with a minimum of 1,305 clinical training hours. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree and meet the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) requirements to take certification exams.

  • Nebraska Methodist College: The sonography program at NMC in Omaha offers a variety of degree paths: Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's. Students in the Associate program may choose Multispecialty or Cardiovascular Sonography degree tracks. Graduation rates are stellar, and 100 percent of graduates in 2014 and 2015 earned certification and found employment within six months of graduation.

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at UNMC, located in Omaha, boasted 100 percent graduation, job placement, and certification success in 2013, 2014, and 2015, with only one student in three years dropping out of the program. Students may pursue a Baccalaureate certificate or a Bachelor of Science degree.

After graduation, the next step is applying to ARDMS to receive certification. Graduation from any of the programs listed above should prepare graduates to receive these credentials.

What to Expect from Nebraska Sonography Programs

Sonography training programs focus heavily on clinical training, preparing graduates by using the same type of equipment they'll find in a real world hospital, clinic, or laboratory. Students learn to create sonographic imagery of multiple internal organs and tissues, including:

  • Abdominal organs and structures
  • Breasts
  • Newborns
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Prostate
  • Testicles
  • Thyroid

Coursework varies, depending on whether the student enrolls in a certificate, Associate degree, or Bachelor's degree program. All students can expect to learn about anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pathophysiology, and sonographic physics. Some programs also offer an internship component, giving students the chance to finish their training at an actual health care facility.

Nebraska Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification

To improve employability and increase earning potential, ARDMS certification is highly recommended. In fact, many facilities require certification. Obtaining these credentials requires submission of a Clinical Verification Form along with an application and fee. You must then pass two exams, one in your chosen specialty and the other in Sonography Principles and Instrumentation.

The choices for credentials are:

  • Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer specialty exams: abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, obstetrics & gynecology, or pediatric sonography
  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer specialty exams: adult echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, or pediatric echocardiography
  • Registered Vascular Technologist specialty exam: vascular technology
  • Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer specialty exam: musculoskeletal sonographer examination

Students must include their transcripts or CME certification of completion when applying. If your application is incomplete, ARDMS returns the application, but not the processing fee.

Resources for Nebraska Ultrasound Technicians

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Sources:

  1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm, accessed October 18, 2016
  2. CAAHEP Accredited Programs, CAAHEP, http://www.caahep.org/Find-An-Accredited-Program/, accessed October 18, 2016
  3. Get Certified, ARDMS, http://www.ardms.org/get-certified/Pages/default.aspx, accessed October 18, 2016
  4. Ultrasound Jobs in Nebraska, Indeed, http://www.indeed.com/q-Ultrasound-l-Nebraska-jobs.html, accessed October 18, 2016

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