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Health care is a thriving industry, and sonography is a good career choice for the individual hoping to enter this field without having to complete several years of formal training. In fact, most sonography programs can be completed within about a year, with lengthier options being available for those who want to earn an academic degree in conjunction with their sonographer’s certificate.
Increasingly, students are choosing to attend online sonography courses. This is an excellent alternative for the person seeking an education that offers plenty of flexibility and convenience. However, there are things that must be considered before an online program is selected.
Do Online Courses Fit Your Learning Style?
Online classes are ideal for students who are organized and self-motivated. That’s because you’ll receive little direct supervision. Students typically do not attend class at the same time as other students or even the teacher. Instead, they must work independently, proactively seeking out the work to be completed and keeping close tabs on all deadlines. This learning style is not for everyone, but it can be effective and rewarding for the student who actively engages in the process. Plus, the convenience of being able to attend class anytime, anywhere is a highly attractive advantage.
Clinical Experience Is Still Required
Whether you are seeking a certificate or a degree, it’s important to understand that the educational program cannot be completed entirely online. Several hours of practical, hands-on experience are required, and that can only be achieved in a real world setting. While you can attend your online courses from anywhere in the world, you must complete clinical practice at a local health care center or doctor’s office. Usually, these experiences are coordinated through the school providing the sonography certificate program. They will contact several possible clinical study locations in your area to arrange for this portion of your education. In addition to providing you with valuable experience, the clinical part of your training also helps you establish professional contacts and may even result in a job offer.
Look for an online sonography program that has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, or CAAHEP. These programs have received accreditation based on academic excellence and the quality of their instructors and classes. Attending a certificate or degree program through one of these institutions ensures that your qualifications as a sonographer will be readily recognized by potential employers.
Upon completion of the online sonography program, you will be prepared to sit for the CCI or ARDMS examinations that are necessary to obtain employment. With the combination of your online coursework and clinical experience, you’ll be ready to enter the health care field as a competent sonographer.