Sonography Training Programs and Classes

Learn about sonography training programs and classes designed to prepare you for a career in diagnostic medical imaging. Find out about professional specializations and certification options. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Sonographers are medical professionals who utilize specialized equipment to create diagnostic images of a patient's internal body tissues. Sonography training programs are available at many colleges, hospitals and health organizations. By taking sonography classes, you will learn how to create and read images to help doctors properly diagnose an illness or injury, as well as prepare for professional certification.

Program Options Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Professional Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography; diagnostic medical sonography training program
Classes Physics of ultrasound technology, abdominal and reproductive health, vascular and cardiovascular systems, sectional and cross-sectional sonography, neurological anatomy
Certification Most employers prefer candidates with professional certification, such as the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer credential from the ARDMS

What Are My Training Options?

You could earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography if you're new to the field. Professional certificate programs are also available, although you might need a prior degree in a medical field to enroll in this type of certificate program. If you're already working as an allied health professional, you could participate in a 1-year training program through your employer, such as a hospital, or a vocational school.

What Degree Programs Are Available?

There are many undergraduate degree programs to choose from when deciding on your sonography training pathway. An Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is an example of a 2-year degree. You may also find a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (Ultrasound) degree program, which may be completed in either two or four years, depending on your previous education or experience.

What Can I Expect to Learn?

In a sonography training program, you'll usually spend considerable time practicing with various devices and equipment. All types of training programs cover essentially the same concepts, though degree programs also add general education coursework to the core sonography classes. Some examples of the sonography concepts you'll be studying in your program include the following:

  • Proper use of hand-held ultrasound devices
  • Full-body machines
  • Ultrasound physics
  • Sound waves for internal imaging
  • Embryos in the womb
  • Tissue damage
  • Proper nervous system function
  • Abdominal sonography

Will I Need Certification or Licensure?

In most states, you won't need a license to work as a sonographer, but many of the skills you learn in your training courses can help you earn voluntary certification, which is preferred by most employers. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers credentials based on the type of sonography you perform (www.ardms.org). You can specialize in a particular area of the body, such as the nervous system, the abdomen or breast, or become proficient with particular sonography equipment. To earn a credential, you'll need to pass a general exam that covers basic practices and equipment before being tested in a specific specialty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends learning multiple types of diagnostic sonography to remain competitive in the field (www.bls.gov).

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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