Most ultrasound technician schools accept international students in 2017. However, students must complete extra steps, such as obtaining the I-20 form. This is in addition to the completion of the normal application forms required by the school and the sonography program. In other words, the international student goes through three application processes. It is a lengthy process, so it is important to start long before the desired program start date.
Get Admitted to the Ultrasound School
Like U.S. students, international students will have to be admitted into the school first to be eligible to apply for admission into the sonography program. Most schools have an international student counselor or a similar position who serves as the contact point. Once admitted into the college, the student will apply for a student visa.
The student visa gives the person the right to enter the United States to attend the university, college, technical school, vocational school and others. There are two categories of student visas that apply to the sonography students.
- Category F – college, university, high school, seminary, private elementary school, conservatory, another academic institution
- Category M – vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution
Once the student is admitted into the school, he or she is added to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The student must attend one of the ultrasound technician schools that is also a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)- certified school. Otherwise the visa will be rejected because the school is not in the SEVIS system. One enrolled in SEVIS, the school will mail a Form I-20 to the student.
What is the I-20 Form?
The I-20 form is called the “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status”. The student takes the form to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country. Students accepted into an academic school will have received a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students” I-20 Form.
Sonography students accepted into a vocational school will have received the “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status – For Vocational Students” I-20 Form. Once the student visa is approved, the student is able to enter the United States.
At the point the student is accepted into the school and receives the Category F or M student visa, it is important to begin the application process for admission into the sonography program, unless it is necessary to complete prerequisites first. Students can have their international academic credits evaluated by a recognized U.S. accredited organization, like the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Office, to convert them into U.S. institution credits.
The student will need to complete the prerequisites before applying for admission into a sonography program. The credits can be earned at any educational institution, as long as the courses are accepted by the sonography program of choice. The student will transfer the I-20 from one school to another.
Some schools require proof that the student is proficient in English. That can be provided in one of four ways:
- Take the Academic American English Placement Test
- Get a SAT score of 550 or higher on the verbal section
- Get a TOEFL score of 91 or higher
- Get a C grade or higher from U.S. accredited educational institution
Ultrasound Technician Schools Appreciate Diversity
Ultrasound technician schools have limited seats in their programs, but they appreciate diversity in their student body. However, like any U.S. student, those from outside the U.S. will need to fund their education.
- Apply to organizations like the International Foundation for Sonography Education and Research which offers sonography scholarships
- Join SDMS which also offers scholarships for international sonography students
- Apply for scholarships and grants through the school Financial Aid Office
- Investigate scholarships and grants available from the student’s home country (some countries fund training if the student agrees to work in the country for a certain period of time)
International students are encouraged to complete sonography program training. There is a need for sonographers around the world. International students should only attend one of the CAAHEP accredited Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs because they offer the highest quality training the student can get.
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