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Sonography Programs

Sonography Programs

What Are Sonographers?

Diagnostic medical sonographers and ultrasound technicians utilize ultrasonic imaging technology to produce diagnostic images and scans. They conduct ultrasound exams of patients' bodies and work closely with physicians to view and analyze digital images to identify internal problems. They also guide patients through the ultrasound process and may participate in treatment planning. For more information, see our page on sonographer careers.

Sonography Program Information

Universities, colleges and trade schools offer either traditional on-campus sonography programs or hybrid programs, which combine online learning with in-person clinical sessions. Regardless of whether programs contain an online component or not, students are required to complete clinical rotations in addition to their coursework, giving them hands-on experience. The practical application of course concepts is aimed at helping students gain familiarity with patient engagement, research methods and bedside manner, as well as case study experience and greater understanding of sectional anatomy.

Students who participate in diagnostic medical sonography programs receive instruction and gain practice in working with digital imaging technology, documenting results of ultrasound procedures, and working with doctors to evaluate, diagnose and treat medical conditions. Courses can also help to increase knowledge of the electrical concepts that produce diagnostic images.

Sonography Program Types

The following programs are commonly available to those who are interested in entering the field of sonography:

  • Certificate: Certificate programs usually take one year to complete, depending on the course load. Students can receive a basic understanding of sonography, increasing their knowledge of diagnostic imaging and receiving hands-on experience. These programs are designed for students who are already employed in a healthcare field, such as nursing, and have some familiarity with patient care.
  • Associate Degree: Associate degree programs can generally be completed within two years, depending on a student's schedule. These programs are the most common educational training for those pursuing a career in diagnostic medical sonography. Earning an associate degree can help provide an introduction to the field, and assist individuals who plan to further their education with a bachelor's degree.

Sonography courses can help prepare students to take a certification exam upon graduation, which could potentially increase their marketability to employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer to hire sonographers who have professional certification. Licensing requirements for employment vary by state, and students can benefit from learning the specific requirements for their state.

Sonography Course Descriptions

While sonography programs vary in their approach to teaching sonographic principles, most share a common core curriculum. Students can opt for specialized programs, narrowing their focus into a specific area of sonography, but the following are some typical courses that may be found as part of the core curriculum at sonography schools.

  • General Sonography: Diagnostic medical sonography, scanner orientations and medical terminology.
  • Abdominal Sonography: Focuses on reading abdominal sonographs and identifying problem areas.
  • Cardiac Sonography: The study of cardiac anatomy, along with terminology and using sonography to examine cardiovascular systems in children and adults.
  • Instruments in Ultrasound: An introduction to the basic scanners and other instruments used in sonography, as well as studying the principles of Doppler ultrasound.
  • Patient Care: Basic patient care in regard to physical and emotional well-being of patients and guiding them through ultrasound procedures.
  • Vascular Ultrasound: Using sonography to identify problems and abnormalities with blood flow.

Sonography Specialties

Students looking to pursue a career in a particular field of sonography can opt for specialized programs that can help prepare them for employment in a specialty area. These specialties include:

  • Breast Sonography
  • Echocardiography
  • Gynecological Sonography
  • Obstetric Sonography
  • Neural Sonography
  • Ophthalmic Sonography
  • Vascular Sonography

Related Career Options

Students interested in practicing sonography may want to pursue similar careers in healthcare, such as:

  • Applied Researcher: Assist in the development of new sonography equipment and technology.
  • Medical Assistant: Fulfill administrative and clinical functions, including health records management, as well as recording and tracking patient information.
  • Radiologic Technologist: Work with patients by performing X-rays and other diagnostic imagining examinations.

These and other related careers may require additional education, training, and/or licensing.

Links to Sources and Associations

Visit the following websites to find out more about diagnostic medical sonography:

American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, http://www.ardms.org/

Cardiovascular Credentialing International, http://www.cci-online.org/

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm

Society for Vascular Ultrasound, http://www.svunet.org/SVUNET/Home/

Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, http://www.sdms.org/

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Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Medical Career Institute in Ocean, NJ is your one-stop-shop for medical career training in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  Medical Career Institute is approved by the United States Department of Education and the New Jersey Departments of Education and Labor and Workforce Development. Offering both morning and evening classes in addition to financial aid assistance to those who qualify. The school is accredited by ABHES and CAAHEP, ensuring the quality and level of education meets the highest standards.

 

Diagnostic Medical Sonography (General Concentration)
Advance your career with American Institute - Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Our program can be completed in as little as 16 months. We offer program specializations in general or cardiac sonography, both of which include vascular ultrasound training.
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
Limited Medical Radiologic Tech-Cert
  • Students participate in an externship program with partnered organizations, where they can get real-world experience.
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, and offers a 20% military discount for students who qualify.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • 6 campuses located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas, with online programs available in Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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Radiologic Technology (AAS)
Argosy University , Saint Paul
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Medical Assisting Basic X-ray Technician
Fortis Institute , Salt Lake City

Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information


  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
Diploma in Medical Assisting with X-Ray Tech (Limited Scope)
  • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
  • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
  • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
  • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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  • Accredited
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  • Transferable Credits
A.S. - Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment. As a student at Southern Technical College, you will have the opportunity learn in several different ways.

  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid