Online Schools for Sonogram Technicians
A sonogram technician is also referred to as an ultrasound technician or a sonographer. Sonography is one of the least invasive diagnostic procedures that can be used in the investigation, discovery and treatment of a medical condition. Learn about how to become a sonogram technician, what online programs are available, what courses you might take and what other steps you may need to complete to gain employment.
Many sonography degree programs require on-campus and clinical work, so online and hybrid programs are uncommon but still available. See where these programs are offered and what they entail by looking through the following article.
Do I Need a Degree to Become a Sonogram Technician?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers will accept individuals as sonogram technicians who have received training from an accredited educational program or an accredited medical practice and have become registered (www.bls.gov). Although there are 4-year educational programs that lead to a bachelor's degree, it's more common for individuals to opt for a 2-year sonography program leading to an associate's degree.
The best way to find an accredited sonography program is to access the website of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org). The commission has a database of accredited schools. There are very few schools that offer an accredited online program.
Which Schools Offer Online Sonography Associate's Degree Programs?
A few online associate's degree programs in sonography can be found. Some of the schools that house them are as follows:
- Baker College has an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree program available online
- The College of Health Care Professions provides an online Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate of Applied Science Degree program
- Baptist School of Health Professions offers an Associate's of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program online
What Constitutes an Online Program?
Online programs that lead to degrees in diagnostic medical sonography are typically offered in a hybrid format. This means that while the didactic portions of a program are accessible online, clinical components must be completed in-person at a school-approved medical facility.
The time necessary to complete a program varies by school and specialty. For instance, a student specializing in general/vascular sonography may take 24 months to earn an associate's degree. A certificate in cardiac or vascular sonography alone may only require 12 months of study. A bachelor's degree program might take 3-4 years to complete.
Programs are generally open to those who have already completed prerequisite courses, earned a 2-year degree from an approved health sciences program or are registered nurses (RN). Individuals who don't have any of these credentials will be required to complete prerequisite courses that might include English, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, computer science or psychology.
What Are Some Common Courses?
All programs consist of similar didactic courses. The number of required courses is different for each degree level. Typical online programs may include general education courses and prerequisites, in addition to topics like:
- General sonography
- Introduction to ultrasound
- Physics and instrumentation
- Vascular sonography
- Medical ethics and the law
- Cardiac sonography
- Cross-sectional anatomy
- Abdominal sonography
- Pathological imaging
Clinical components of a program might include practice in such areas as OB/GYN ultrasound, cardiovascular sonography, neurosonography, ophthalmologic sonography, abdominal sonography and breast sonography. The clinical portion of a program usually prepares you for a specialization.
Will I Need Any Credentials Other Than My Degree to Practice?
Although licensure is not legally required, your chances for employment and advancement will most likely be enhanced if you obtain certification from one of several professional credentialing associations. By completing the appropriate educational requirements of an accredited program, you'll become eligible to sit for one or more certification examinations.
Cardiovascular Credentialing International administers tests for various cardiac, vascular and cardiovascular certifications. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists credentials breast and vascular sonography. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography certifies registered diagnostic medical sonographers in such specialties as abdominal, breast and nervous system sonography as well as cardiac and vascular sonography.
To become a sonogram technician, earning an associate's degree in sonography is most likely the first and best step on your career path. A handful of colleges and universities offer these programs online in a hybrid format, allowing you some flexibility and control over your education.