Are you looking for best ultrasound technician schools in North Dakota in 2016? If so, this is the right article for you. North Dakota has a dynamic health care industry that is rapidly growing as the state’s population grows. There is a strong quality hospital system that includes St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, the Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck, and the Sanford Fargo Medical Center in Fargo, to name just three. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers will find many new career opportunities in 2016 and the following years as the health care system expands to accommodate the economic boom generated by the oil industry, which is expected to last for many years.
Requirements and Steps to Becoming a Sonographer in ND
Becoming an ultrasound technician requires completing classes selected from a list of courses supplied by the sonography school. Coursework is then supplemented with hands-on clinical training. Where the clinic hours are completed depends on the school attended. Some schools have designated clinical facilities where sonography students must work. However, an online ultrasound program may allow students to complete clinical training hours at a local hospital or medical center. The location of clinical training is an important consideration when selecting schools to attend.
The requirements to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer will depend on the school selected and the type of degree pursued. It can take one to four years to complete a program because of the variety of degrees that can be earned. For example, in 2016 students can choose to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which will take 4 or more years if entering the program with only a high school diploma. An Associate’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography can usually be earned in 2 years. A certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is typically earned in programs designed for professionals who already have an allied health degree, have completed a hospital approved program, or are already ARDMS, CCI or ARRT registered.
Questions to Ask When Selecting a Sonography School
Selecting a school requires careful consideration of several factors that include the following:
- Is the sonography program accredited by the CAAHEP?
- How many years has the program been operating?
- What percentage of graduating students pass the ARDMS exams on their first attempt?
- What are the credentials of the faculty?
- What percentage of graduates find employment in their desired field?
- What support systems are in place in terms of counseling and access to faculty?
- What degrees and concentrations are offered by the school?
- Where does the clinical training take place?
Attending a school with a CAAHEP-accredited sonography program is important if a student wants to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) or a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS). Credentialing is increasingly becoming a requirement for employment. Since states do not require licensing, the credentials serve as proof of knowledge and training. Students must complete certain requirements before they are even eligible to take the exams, which is why they should choose a CAAHEP accredited program.
Options for Schooling in 2016
North Dakota students who want to complete a CAAHEP accredited sonography program will have to choose online sonography education or attending a school in another state. North Dakota is one of a few states that do not have accredited sonography programs.
There is a complete list of Diagnostic Medical Sonography schools at the school directory. South Dakota and Minnesota border North Dakota. South Dakota has one CAAHEP accredited sonography program, Minnesota has four accredited ultrasound programs. Among the various schools and programs, students will find an excellent choice of degrees and concentrations in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Online Ultrasound Technician Programs
The CAAHEP has also accredited two online or distance education programs for sonography students.
Washburn University in Kansas
Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas has been delivering a distance learning program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography for over 11 years. The program ensures students complete the necessary didactic and clinical training needed to sit for the ARDMS or CCI exams. The clinical component of the program can usually be completed in a medical center or research center that is near the student’s home or near a location convenient for the student.
Jackson College in Michigan
Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan also has accredited programs. The school makes it clear that there are more students applying than there are available program slots, so it is important to plan well ahead if this is the school of choice. Jackson College has a certificate program and an associate degree program with concentrations in vascular, one program in general sonography and one program in cardiac sonography. The programs are three or four semesters long, depending on which concentration is chosen. Jackson College will also work with students to find a qualified facility where clinical training can be conveniently accessed.
University of Wisconsin
Updated in February 2016: No accredited online sonography programs avaialble
The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee also offers online coursework. The CAAHEP lists the school as newly accredited for a distance learning program. There are two programs leading to a Bachelor’s degree. The professional program enabling students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Imaging is for people who are already worked in the medical field. The Diagnostic Imaging Completion Program paves an educational path for earning a four year degree which takes into account work experience to date. Anyone who is ARMDS, CCI or ARRT registered, or has completed a hospital-based program or Associate’s degree within the last 10 years, can apply. The University website indicates that most students can complete the entire program online.
The second degree offered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a Bachelor of Science degree with a Diagnostic Medical Sonography sub major. The program requires didactic coursework and clinical training. However, the clinical portion must be completed at Aurora St. Luke’s, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, or the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Many of the classes can be taken online, but North Dakota residents will have to be willing to temporarily relocate during clinical training.
Career Outlook for Sonographers in North Dakota
There were 100 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers employed in the state in 2015, making it one of the states with the least number of positions in this occupation. However, this is a low population state with larger rural areas. It is ranked as number 48 in terms of resident population by the U.S. Census. It has also been one of the states with the slowest growing number of positions and job openings over the last few years. In fact, the projections through 2020 for the health care industry as a whole in North Dakota indicate a tepid 18.1 percent job growth between 2010 and 2020.
Ultrasound Technician Salary in North Dakota
The average annual wage for sonographers is $64,840 as of May 2015 that is below the national average of $70,800. The available information on employment and salaries statistics is sparse. The salaries vary considerable depending on location. For example, an ultrasound technologist in Dickinson, ND range earns anywhere from $39,529 to $56,204, but a professional in Bismarck, ND earns between $45,780 and $76,060. However, it is conceivable that the pace of job creation and wage increases could increase as the nation focuses on expanding rural access to health care services.
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