Online Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs
A career in ultrasound technology provides you with clinical opportunities in a variety of specialties, from echocardiography to vascular sonography. There are a number of certificate and degree programs in this field available online. To learn more about programs, curriculum and professional registration options, read on.
What Ultrasound Technician Programs Are Available Online?
There are three types of programs available online for ultrasound technicians - certificates, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees. Many of these programs are referred to as sonography programs or diagnostic medical sonography programs.
Fully online programs are difficult to find because clinical work is needed to demonstrate your knowledge of equipment and patient care. Therefore, many programs are hybrids, meaning they combine online courses with some in-person or on-campus requirements. Some programs require that you live a certain distance away from campus in order to be eligible for online study.
You should make sure that your online program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) through the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
|Degree Levels||Certificate, associate, bachelor's|
|Online Availability||Many available as hybrid online and on-campus; rarely available as fully online|
|Common Courses||Anatomy and physiology, biology, medical terminology, medical ethics, healthcare systems|
|Licensing and Registration||Required to practice as a technician; exams cover basic principles as well as your chosen specialty|
What Will I Study?
At the certificate level, programs in vascular sonography and echocardiography can be found online. These specialized certificate programs allow you to learn additional skills in a specific area of the body. Some certificate programs require that you have already become a registered member of the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).
The Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography are available through online colleges and extension campuses. During these programs, you'll delve deeper into anatomy, biology, medical terminology, wellness and communications subjects. Many of the associate's degrees available over the Internet require clinical hours. You may be allowed to choose a clinic convenient to you in order to complete these hours, as long as it's approved by the college.
The Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees available online provide you with a scientific background to supplement the technical imaging knowledge you already have. Some of these programs are bachelor's degree completion programs, which means they are designed for students who already have completed two years of college coursework. You may be required to have an ARDMS credential prior to enrollment. Some of the subjects you'll study include lifespan psychology, ethics, sectional anatomy, neurosonography and pathophysiology. You'll also study the healthcare systems and health in general.
How Can I Become Registered?
The ARDMS offers examinations that lead to becoming a registered ultrasound technician. Once you have completed your degree program (or as mentioned above, sometimes prior to continuing your education), you'll sit for the Sonography Principles and Instrumentations Exam (SPI). This exam tests your knowledge of basic principles and equipment used in the sonography profession.
After passing the SPI, you'll move on to a specialty examination in a particular area of the body, such as the breasts, cardiovascular system, brain or abdomen. You may also be tested in obstetrical sonography if this is your area of interest. The exam tests your knowledge in that specific area, covering diseases, masses, abnormalities, anatomy, techniques and lab values. Depending on your specialty, after passing the exam, you will then become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) or Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT).