The TRUTH: “Accredited” vs. “Non-accredited”
This seems to be the predominate questions among potential sonography students: Should I attend an “accredited” program or “non-accredited” program?
Ultimately, the individual is the only one who can answer that question. The potential student must take a few factors into consideration when making decision of which to attend.
For a CAAHEP “Accredited” program – it is true that you can immediately sit for registry upon graduation.
- Waiting lists – while it is a definite plus to be able to immediately sit for registry, most of these programs have at least a 1-2 year waiting list (in some cases, a lot longer time frame).
- Tuition Costs – typically, these institutions are as much as 2-3x more than other programs offered.
- Program terms – unless your personal goal is to possess a BA, BS, or Masters degree, it is not necessary to complete a program for longer than 2 years when seeking an ultrasound certification.
For “Non-accredited” programs –
- Educational background – if already holds a degree (BS, BA, or Associates Degree) in a health-related field, then upon completion of a 12-month ultrasound program + 800 clinical hours, individual can sit for the registry; if does not have a degree as previously mentioned, then may have to take pre-requisite courses prior to OR while attending sonography training. Once individual has completed training AND clinical rotation, then eligible to sit for CCI registry and upon passing, can sit for ARDMS certification.
- Tuition Costs – usually, a significant amount less than other options.
- Waiting Lists – NO waiting lists
- Program Terms – mostly 12 to 24-months long
Of course, these are just a few factors to consider when deciding on the Ultrasound program that is right for you. The ultimate result is a JOB and while “how” you reach this goal is important, potential employers are only interested in the bottom line….”can the candidate do the job,” and “do they possess the skills necessary to accommodate position?” As with any job interview, the candidate must sell themselves. With the increased requirement of employers to be registered, it is important for the graduate of ANY program to be at the very least, registry eligible. Even though a job description may include “must be registered,” it is highly unlikely that one would be denied employment if they possess the proper skills, training and is able to demonstrate such.
* Refer to: Cardiovascular Credentialing International ( www.cci-online.org), Pre-requisite #1 AND The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS, http://www.ardms.org), Pre-requisite #5.
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