The Top Questions People Ask Us

Who Are You?

We’re the second oldest private ultrasound technician training course institute in the US: we’ve been in service continuously since 1981.  We keep a low profile because we prefer it that way:  teaching you is a profession to us first and a business endeavor last.   Most of our ultrasound technician and physician clientele are referred by word of mouth, from our over 37,000 students worldwide.  The chances are good that we trained your professor a long time ago.  The best way to get to know us quickly is to visit with our Core Values page.

We can save you substantial time and out of pocket costs by bringing the training to your own site.  This allows all of your Team to learn the same things at once and can do it without interrupting your workflow.

How long is the course?

Our ultrasound classes shorten the traditional learning experience by focusing on the core elements of practice and thought.  We compress between three and twelve years of experience into each day of learning.  Our public courses are from one to seven days in length.  Physician courses are conducted on weekends to minimize practice downtime.

We can save you substantial time and out of pocket costs by bringing the training to your own site.  This allows all of your Team to learn the same things at once and can do it without interrupting your workflow.

How much does it cost?

In an uncertain economy, the best investment you can make is in you.  You would probably agree that it is better to invest a little more time and money than you had planned to instead of less than you should have. There is no question that you’ll be able to spend the difference it will make, immediately and for the rest of your life.  Tuition is listed for each course description page.  As a budget process you should also factor in costs of travel, ground transportation, lodging, and food; each one is tax-deductible for education related to your present job or career improvement.  Subtract the cost of breakfast and lunch during the course; they’re provided free for our Guests at our host hotel site.

After a few days will I be able to go back to work and do this?

It sounds impossible, and there is no guarantee that anyone who graduates any school will be able to perform well immediately.  Everyone learns and masters different skills at different speeds, but one thing is constant among everyone: each person has to begin with the right approach.

Our mission for you is to establish together the core hand-eye and critical thinking skills to be able to execute and document a systematic exam, differentiate normal from suspected abnormal states, and communicate suspected abnormalities in a clearly defined manner.  To this end we maximize your time with us by making your Hands-on Scan Lab accessible around the clock; further, we offer post-conference mentoring support forever, for free.

After I do this, how do I get registered?

Two agencies can credential ultrasound professionals: the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers credentials both allied health and physician professionals in every specialty of ultrasound. Cardiovascular Credentialing International credentials cardiovascular allied health professionals in noninvasive and invasive cardiovascular procedures, including ultrasound.  Each organization has its own prerequisites and they’re listed on each of their sites. Applicants must pass written exams in acoustic physics and clinical testing principles.

How many people are going to be in the class with me?

We strictly limit class size to be able to focus attention on your individual learning.  Usual class size is less than a dozen persons; this fosters a community atmosphere without sacrificing intimacy.  Regardless of size, our unique approach creates a peer-to-peer support network that further deepens the learning process during class.

You won’t feel intimidated and you won’t be ignored in a sea of faces.  You will immediately become family, no matter who you are or where you’ve come from.

Am I going to get one-to-one attention, or is it watch-one, practice-one, then go home and do one?

Our main focus is to get your hands, eyes, and thinking organized to perform the ultrasound exam, in that order.

To be able to accomplish all three in a brief period of time, we apply close attention to you at every turn.  But we also expect you to submit to the process of learning, which includes attention, self-study, and practice.  To this end, we’ve created a college campus-style environment, complete with 24-hour scan laboratory, where after-hours practice and peer-to-peer learning makes the most of every hour you’re with us.  And after the course adjourns, we continue to apply individual attention to you forever, through our post-conference mentoring program, for free.  You never leave us.

What do I do after hours at the end of the day?

Anything you like, because you’ve got a universe of choices, and you’ll make new friends immediately.  We hope you’ll take full advantage of our 24-hour hands-on scan lab on-site, where you can practice alone or with peers in an independent setting with no instructor and your own agenda.  You’ll have in-depth course materials to review, to reinforce each day’s concepts.  And you’ll have Social Hour (Monday-Thursday) in the hotel lobby, to relax with beverages and hot hors-d’oeuvres.  You’ll be steps away from all dining options and just a short distance to world-class shopping and entertainment.  Get a preview of our host hotel site so you can start feeling at home already.

How often do you do the course?

You can preview the entire year’s schedule in a calendar or list form.  In general, our Physics, Cardiac, and Vascular hands-on classes are held monthly; Abdominal, Breast, Pelvic/OB, and Transvaginal hands-on classes are held every other month.  Interpretation courses in Echocardiography and Vascular Ultrasound are held once a quarter.  Stay in touch with us always by joining our private Facebook Alumni group, Born to Scan.  Send your request and we’ll get you inside, stat.

What kind of other people will be in class with me; am I going to be the only one with no idea of how to do this?

You’re going to find your new friends in class are going to be just like you: they’ve come to learn more.  Some will have lots of experience in o their areas, some will have less; some may have none.  But everyone will share the same uneasiness about being in a new place and being seen as a learner in front of others.  But the most important people you’ll find yourself in class with will be our Faculty Team, who are passionate about your success and incredibly accomplished at putting you at ease, from the first minute.

And you can be sure of one thing: there won’t be a one in the class who already has it all figured out.  The less you know at the outset, the better.  It makes our job even more fun.

What’s the difference between you and others?

We preceded most of them; we taught many of them.

The single biggest difference is likely that we have Keith Mauney.  His unique experiences in the science, the industry, and all facets of the field, coupled with his insight into you and your needs is unlike any other, and this perspective pervades our entire Team.  You won’t just learn how to be a better sonographer, you’re going to be inspired to be a better clinician, and everyone around you knows the difference.

Take a more analytical look at the differences between our colleagues-in-learning and us at the chart here.

How long have you been doing this?

Keith Mauney entered the field in 1973; he founded the institute in 1981.  We’ve been growing from and giving to the world ever since.

How far in advance do I need to register?

Advance registration is required; we do not admit applicants at the door.  Because of the tight restriction on class size, we can only confirm your seat in class after we review your application and receive your tuition.  There is no deadline, and we often receive applications right up to the day before class; however, registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

You should not make non-refundable travel reservations without verification from us of your approved status.  Please allow 48 hours for us to process your application and payment.

Is it tax-deductible?

Course tuition and associated travel, lodging and meal expenses are tax-deductible if the primary purpose of your trip is to maintain or improve professional skills.*  While you should always consult your tax advisor regarding your personal situation, our courses are designed to comply fully with current tax laws. Yet another reason to register.

Can I do an ultrasound exam without being registered and still get paid?

Oregon and New Mexico require that all persons working in diagnostic ultrasound be credentialed.  Most medical insurance payers require exams to be performed by credentialed professionals.  You should set your sights on the highest standard of credentialing possible, to offer patients the highest standard of care you can provide.

Do I have to have a 2-year or 4-year degree?

Both credentialing agencies have a fundamental education prerequisite in place.  Cardiovascular Credentialing International accepts candidates with high school education plus two years of clinical experience.  CCI and the ARDMS recognize allied health credentials from the Associate Degree level upwards.  Check the complete prerequisites for the ARDMS and CCI agencies; we’ve color-coded them to make understanding them easy.  These are subject to change, so be certain to verify them with the agencies’ most up-to-date policy.

Do I have to be a radiology tech?

No.  The field of sonography is open to degreed professionals and qualified individuals from any field.  As you can see from just above, high school graduates with two years’ experience can apply for the CCI cardiology or vascular credentials.  This field does require a thorough knowledge of anatomy and clinical disease, of course, but radiology science is not a necessary or favored path.

Are you accredited?

Accreditation refers to the status that a formal two or four-year school achieves when it demonstrates compliance with approved standards set forth by state or other professional agencies.

Are you CAHEA accredited?

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education accredits only formal programs of at least one year in length.  This doesn’t apply to our institution.

What’s the difference between you and a 2-year or 4-year program?

The difference lies in our focus and our use of your time.  In the first year of a two year program usually focuses on your general education in biology, math, and science; the second on clinical science, ultrasound physics, scan technique, and clinical rotations where you observe and practice skills taught in class.  A four-year program deepens the experience in three ways: 1) your general education is spread longer, 2) more time is spent building your understanding of clinical biology and pathophysiology, and 3) you acquire more hours in the same sort of clinical rotations as a two-year program.  Graduates from an accredited 2 or 4-year program can immediately apply for certification through the ARDMS or CCI credentialing exam.

What’s the difference between certification from you and certification from a two-year program?

Certification in ultrasound comes only from your successful score on a recognized credentialing exam, such as the ones offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMSor Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

The principal difference between us and a long-term program is that ours is structured to lay down a foundation of knowledge and a core of skills, then release you to your clinical site to grow them under peer supervision and feedback.  You are ultimately responsible for your own development; we are your starting point and frame of reference.  The two-year experience is more measured and orchestrates your learning for you in a carefully integrated fashion.  Perfect-world scenarios build your knowledge base and clinical observation and practice sessions help temper them with reality.  We both teach from the same set of facts and use the same reference books.

Our program is more effective for professionals who already have core medical knowledge and who will be returning to a clinically active environment where they can put skills to practice and feedback.  A longer-term program is much better suited to persons who are entering the field for the very first time.  Both, when properly executed, can lead to certification.  But there are no shortcuts with either route: you will ultimately need a core skills set, clinical experience, and a passing score on your certification exam to succeed in the field.

What are they going to teach me?

You’re going to learn all of the steps necessary to complete a systematic exam; you’re going to learn how to identify all principal structures and relate them to each other, and you’re going to learn how to systematically define normal from suspected abnormal.  In academic terms, you’re going to learn the nuances of abstract spatial reasoning, conspicuity, and critical matrix analysis.

But there’s more: you’re going to learn how to become an even better clinician, by becoming an even better person.  This is the magic behind the scenes in our classes.  It is the secret ingredient that sets us apart from every other.  It is the unseen element that you just have to be there to see, experience, and become a part of.

What’s my day going to be like? Do I sit in a classroom all day?

The first day starts at 9 am, with greetings and an overview of the entire course.  Each day afterward is spent with half of our time together in the Scan Lab, half in the classroom discussing new ideas and exploring answers to your questions.  We break for a light complimentary lunch, served onsite for half an hour at midday.  Each full-day concludes by 4:00 pm.

From this point afterward, there’s usually a few minutes where you and your newfound friends plan the afternoon/evening activities, which usually include group dining, shopping, and (of course) independent evening scanning in our 24-hour Scan Lab.  You’ll retire to your own suite, equipped with a full kitchen with a separate parlor and sleeping quarters.  You’ll have plenty of room to share with your family, pets, and friends.  Visit our host hotel preview to start making plans for your new home with us.

How much hands-on time am I going to get?

We know this is the most important part of your learning because ultrasound is so hand-eye dependent.  Our hands-on strategy has been refined over thirty years of experimentation, and we think we have the best approach of any course, regardless of term.  Hands-on practice is available at least 16 of every 24 hours you’re with us.

Our hands-on strategy is broken into three parts.  The first involves pre-planning in-class discussion: structure organization and appearance, coupled with our approach to it.  The second phase involves actual hands-on practice on normal subjects (each other) to experience real-world challenges; we do this in small groups under the leadership of our expert Faculty.  The third plane of learning incorporates the after-hours practice, peer-to-peer, without the pressure or presence of an instructor.  This element reinforces the other two and builds confidence, confidence without pressure to perform, as will be the case on returning home. We repeat the cycle each day.

How many clinical hours will I need to obtain afterward to qualify for the certification exam?

Prerequisites for the credentialing exams are subject to change.  The ARDMS requires certain candidates to document 800 exams; persons who have obtained an associate or higher degree in ultrasound from an accredited institution are exempt.  CCI prerequisites are based on time spent in clinical experience; these range from one to two years, depending on your prior training.

Each agency lists their current prerequisites on their site.

Who’s going to teach my class: per diem people or people who actually work for your institution?

Our institute’s title might suggest we’re a franchise, or promoter-type organization bringing in various luminaries for different shows.  We’re not. We’re are a group of career professionals; each one of us has worked together for between five to forty years in our mission.  We’re all clinically active in our field and each of us is an expert in communicating with and leading persons into new areas of learning.

Keith Mauney personally teaches part or all of every course and is responsible for every facet of your experience.

Our resource network spans the globe, with colleagues in every facet of our field.

Can I get paid for my clinical hours during the period I’m fulfilling my prerequisite? Do clinical volunteer hours count toward my clinical hours?

The ARDMS and CCI credentialing exams require a minimum period of full-time experience (or its equivalent.

Our best interpretation of the language pertaining to  clinical hours appears that can be accrued on a volunteer basis, provided they constitute full-time engagement or its equivalent.  It’s entirely possible to obtain payment for your services during your “internship” prior to attempting certification.  This is a matter between you and your employer.  However, insurance payers may not reimburse your employer for certain exams if a credentialed sonographer has not performed them.

You can prepare a proposal for your prospective employer by researching payer policies and proposing an Employment Agreement for a certain commitment period at a staged salary in exchange for your training support.  Medicare payment policies are complex and require time to research, but complete information is available.  You can review and download an editable Employment Agreement we’ve prepared for you at the top of our free Downloads page.

If I can’t make it to class, will I lose my tuition?

Our commitment to strictly limited class size forces us to enforce a rigorous administrative policy, similar to other national organizations.  Please review all the details of it here. 

In brief, we do apply an administrative charge in the event you cancel, and either refund the balance, less the admin fee, for cancelations more than thirty days in advance; for cancelations less than thirty days out, you will retain a credit balance, less the admin fee, for any course for the next twelve months.  No-show registrants without notice of written cancelation forfeit tuition.

Got a Question?

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