Course Requirements for Ultrasound Technicians

Ultrasound technicians use sound waves to create images of the body's internal structures. Find out about prerequisites for enrolling in an ultrasound program, and learn about required courses. Get information on options to specialize and earn professional certification. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Courses Are Involved?

Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, are responsible for capturing images of internal organs, blood vessels, reproductive systems and fetuses. Ultrasound courses will teach you the fundamentals of ultrasound technology and provide hands-on experience working with ultrasound equipment. You'll also learn to work with patients and perform ethically in a medical setting. Ultrasound courses require training in physical science, medical procedures and patient examination techniques. Courses common to these programs include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Diagnostic procedures
  • Patient care
  • Medical ethics
  • Scanning techniques
  • Ultrasound instrumentation

What Are the Prerequisites?

A background in basic science, general physics and algebra is desirable. A high school education or its equivalent is required for admission to any program, and some programs may require experience in a clinical-health setting. As with most health science programs, you'll be required to submit proof of current immunizations and a recent physical.

Where Can I Find These Courses?

Ultrasound technician courses are most commonly offered at 2-year colleges in associate's degree and certificate programs in diagnostic medical sonography; however, some 4-year colleges offer this course of study in bachelor's degree programs. Hospitals, nursing schools and vocational schools may also offer similar programs. Some schools may also offer some of the courses through distance education, but the clinical phase of the program will have to be completed at campus facilities, and your clinical practicum will occur in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic.

How Can I Get a Job as an Ultrasound Technician?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers prefer technicians who have graduated from accredited programs and are registered by a certifying body (www.bls.gov). The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers certification in a number of specializations, such as abdominal imaging, breast imaging, echocardiography, obstetrics and gynecology, neurosonology and vascular technology (www.ardms.org). Some of the credentials you could earn through the ARDMS include Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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