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Online Associate's Degrees in Sonography

Often referred to as ultrasound technology or diagnostic medical sonography, sonography involves the use of high frequency sound waves to examine tissues in the body for diagnostic purposes. Keep reading to see program information, areas of study and professional registration requirements.

Can I Earn an Associate Degree in Sonography Online?

Sonography degrees are available online, though they are somewhat rare, particularly at the associate degree level. Even those that are available require you to complete some in-person requirements on campus, in a healthcare setting or both. Because clinical and hands-on experience is important to the sonography program, fully online degree programs are impossible to offer. In order to gain hands-on practice, you'll log hours in a clinic, hospital or specialist's office, where you'll work with the equipment and with patients.

Online requirements Hands-on experience required at a clinic, hospital, or specialist's office
Common courses Biology, medical terminology, diagnostic imaging, stress management, healthcare systems
Registration agency The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)
Median Salary (2018)$72,510 (for diagnostic medical sonographers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)23% growth (for all diagnostic medical sonographers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Diagnostic medical sonography is available through Associate of Science and the Associate of Applied Science degrees. Programs train you to work in abdominal or obstetric/gynecological sonography, which are two common areas of this discipline. Some programs may offer further specialization in other areas, such as the brain, breasts and fetal echocardiography. Programs expose you to such subjects as biology, communication, medical terminology, diagnostic imaging, computers, stress management and healthcare systems. About half of your course credits outside of general education will be dedicated to clinical work.

How Do I Become Registered?

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers examinations to become registered. You must take two examinations to complete the registration process. The first test, which covers basic principles and equipment knowledge, is the Sonography Principles and Instrumentations Exam (SPI). This exam is required for all students who want to become registered.

After passing the SPI, you'll take the exam which corresponds to the area of the body that you studied. Passing this exam, which tests your recognition of abnormalities, anatomy, diseases and diagnostic medical sonography techniques, will lead to you becoming a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) or a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT). Each exam is related to an area of the body that you want to specialize in, such as the brain, the abdomen, the reproductive organs, the stomach, the lungs, the breasts or fetuses.