What Education Do I Need to Be a Sonogram Technician?

Sonogram technicians are typically required to earn a certificate or degree in diagnostic medical sonography. To learn more about education requirements and typical job duties, read on. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Ultrasound technicians operate imaging equipment to provide diagnostic health information. You must be proficient at information technology, patient positioning, and the operation of ultrasound equipment to work in this field. You may write or orally provide reports of the images you have taken by describing and differentiating normal from abnormal internal organs and structures to physicians. Obtaining and maintaining patient records is also part of your job.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required for patient education regarding procedures. Good health, stamina, and proper body mechanics are needed because you spend a large part of your shift walking or standing on your feet and lifting or re-positioning patients.

Important Facts About Education Needed to Become Sonogram Technician

Prerequisites 30 hours college coursework, 2.75 GPA, associate's degree or higher in healthcare program with hands-on patient care
Online Availability Partial since clinical work required
Possible Careers Pediatric sonographer, abdominal sonographer, breast sonographer
Continuing Education Required to maintain certain certifications, such as ARDMS
Median Salary (2018) $72,510
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Sonogram technicians are required to have a high school diploma or the equivalent before beginning further training. Sonogram technicians must complete formal training to learn to work with equipment and patients. Formal education in the field is available at the certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree levels. Accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, www.caahep.org) is vital for eligibility to complete national registry licensing exams.

Common Coursework

Associate's degree and certificate programs will focus on human anatomy and physiology, ultrasound imaging, physics, math, and computer science. You can complete clinical practicum experiences in several areas to gain hands-on experience working with equipment and obtaining images for physicians. Additional courses include medical terminology, communication, and patient interaction skills. If you plan to advance in your ultrasound career, taking the four-year program will prepare you to specialize in one of these fields:

  • OB/GYN sonography
  • Cardiovascular sonography
  • Abdominal sonography
  • Breast sonography

Licensing and Certification

Voluntary certification is available through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS, www.ardms.org). The ARDMS has varying prerequisites for eligibility to take the national registry exam depending upon the program from which you graduate. A handful of states require licensure in this field.

In order to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), you must first pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation Exam (SPI), as well as a specialty exam in your area of expertise, which may include abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, neurosonology, and OB/GYN. To become a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), you must pass the SPI and a specialty exam in adult echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, or pediatric echocardiography. To become a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), you must pass the SPI and the vascular technology specialty exam.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

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  • Miller-Motte College

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    Popular programs at Miller-Motte College:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    • Master

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  • Regent University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Capella University

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  • Ferris State University

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    • Michigan: Big Rapids
  • Grand Valley State University

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    • Michigan: Allendale