Medical professionals are in demand, especially in the fields of radiology and medical imaging. Ultrasound careers are becoming increasingly popular due to growing employment opportunities and ease of entry into the field.
Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers or sonographers, typically participate in one to four years of formal study in accredited ultrasound technician programs before entering the field. They may also choose to become licensed by taking a national registration exam to certify that their skills meet national standards.
While the length and depth of ultrasound technician programs vary, all programs will cover college-level course work in biology, math, physics, written and oral communication, as well as clinical training in ultrasound equipment and techniques.
The 1-year certificate program is designed exclusively for students who have experience and education as certified allied health professionals in other fields but are looking to move or expand into diagnostic medical sonography.
The associate’s degree is the most popular training program for professional ultrasound technicians. Students must be high school graduates to be considered for enrollment in this 2-year training program.
A 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited ultrasound school will provide students with a well-rounded education in addition to the clinical training needed to be successful as an ultrasound technician. A bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography also allows students to sit for advanced certification exams, giving them a competitive edge over other applicants when seeking jobs.
Many employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited institutions because they know that these graduates meet national standards of quality. Ultrasound schools are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP), a national organization that sets the standards for training in the allied health professions. CAAHEP requires schools to stay current in teaching the most advanced techniques in ultrasound imaging.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers exams in 10 clinical areas of expertise:
Depending on your field of study and interests, you can apply for the following ultrasound licensure.
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