Online training programs in diagnostic medical sonography seem an attractive option for people in various situations that make going to school in the ordinary sense somewhat difficult. For instance, someone may live in a remote rural location that is far from the campuses of schools that offer training programs in which they are interested. Or they may not have a vehicle, have other obligations such as work that take up too much of their time to make regular classroom attendance realistic, or have some kind of physical problem making mobility difficult. For these people online diagnostic medical sonography programs, also known as distance learning programs, can be a convenient option. Though one can’t train completely in sonography online – the practical training at a medical facility is a big part of the process – internet based distance learning programs can take the place of most classroom instruction.
Before embarking on a diagnostic medical sonography training program, an individual should bear in mind that an extra degree of caution and circumspection is required. It is quite easy for charlatans and shoddy programs to bill themselves as reputable ones in the web environment. Just a quick look around some forums and review sites will serve to show you both the good and bad concerning these programs. Many people have been ripped off by online education that is primarily profit driven, is deceptive, or is even outright fraudulent. Reputable online diagnostic medical sonography training programs do however exist. The following are some ways that you can evaluate the worth and reputability of web based educational programs in this field.
Possibly one of the most trustworthy ways to evaluate diagnostic medical sonography training programs is to find out whether they have accreditation. The primary and most respected accrediting organization for this profession and a number of others in the allied health field is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Many employers actually look for graduates of these types of programs. You will find that many online programs are not CAAHEP accredited. So if you can find one that is, you’re doing well. There is a valuable resource here that you can access. The CAAHEP website, which is at http://www.caahep.org/default.aspx, has a search tool that allows you to search programs in diagnostic medical sonography that they have accredited.
There are only 4 such on programs in the US listed by CAAHEP, which shows you how relatively infrequent it is for CAAHEP to accredit such programs. But if one of these 4 programs work for you, you can be pretty sure it is reputable. Considering getting to and from the school is not an issue since the instruction will be done online, it is quite possible that you can attend one of these institutions.
Some of these schools may have accreditations by other organizations, and probably some accreditation is better than none. But as noted above, accreditation by CAAHEP is the surest bet.
Check Out Review Sites
Another good way to check out a school that you are considering is to read over review sites that are unbiased and user based. Read reviews by people who have actually attended, or are attending, online programs that you are considering. These sites can give you an honest view of the real experiences of students, rather than the sales pitch that the website’s literature gives you.
Talk to Instructors and Administrators
It is a good idea to talk to instructors and administrative staff at the online school you are considering. If all you get are “customer service” people when you try to call the school, that’s not so good. Many of these online schools have a corporate type mentality and while that doesn’t always go along with poor educational standards, it tends to. Talking to actual staff at a school at least gives you a sense of what types of people they are and that they are open enough to answer questions.
The Better Business Bureau
You can even check with the Better Business Bureau in the state in which the school is based to see if there are any complaints about these companies. This organization can be accessed online and can give valuable information about a school’s record.