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Diagnostic Sonography Certification and Degree Programs

Learn about certificate and degree program options in diagnostic sonography. Find out how to become certified in a specialty area, including abdominal, breast or obstetric sonography.

What Degrees in Diagnostic Sonography Are Available?

Both associate and bachelor's degrees in diagnostic sonography are available and will require you to complete general education courses, core diagnostic sonography classes and a clinical experience. Diagnostic sonography-related courses cover topics in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, sonographic physics, pharmacology and echocardiography. If you graduate with an associate degree, you have the option of finding entry-level employment or continuing your education in a bachelor's degree program. Completing a bachelor's degree may qualify you for management positions and higher potential salaries.

Degree Levels Associate and bachelor's
Certificate Option Program is designed for those who have a degree in a related field
Certification Organization American Registry in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Median Salary (2018)$72,510* (for diagnostic medical sonographers)
Job Outlook (2016-26)23%* (for all diagnostic medical sonographers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Options If I Have a College Degree?

If you have already completed a degree in a medical-related field, you may be eligible to enter a certificate program in diagnostic sonography. For example, if you are working as a radiologic technician, you can enroll in a certificate program in diagnostic sonography in order to improve employment options or earn a higher salary. Certificate programs usually require certain prerequisites to be completed before enrollment.

How Do I Become Certified?

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers many options for fulfilling the prerequisites for the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) certification exam. All options require some formal coursework and hands-on clinical experience. After you have completed the necessary education and experience requirements, you may sit for the exam in the specialty of your choice. Specialties include:

  • Breast
  • Abdomen
  • Obstetrics & gynecology
  • Vascular technology
  • Neurosonology
  • Adult echocardiography
  • Fetal echocardiography
  • Pediatric echocardiography

Within your specialty, you are tested on areas such as anatomy and physiology, patient care, pathology, integration of data, instrumentation, protocols and treatment. While no states require formal certification for sonography, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certification is strongly preferred by most employers.