For students who are interested in pursuing a career in diagnostic medical sonography, there are a number of career paths that can take them there. We will discuss various program elements, like program levels, how programs are delivered and whether they are available online, and whether or not you need to obtain a license.
How to Select an Online Diagnostic Medical Sonography School
Since requirements for the degree vary at each educational level, prospective students should pay attention to on-campus requirements and internship hours with the award level required to graduate.
Sonographers operate ultrasound equipment, and the images are used to help physicians diagnose medical, cardiac, vascular, gynecologic and obstetric conditions. Professional sonographers typically hold an associate's degree, but a more advanced degree offers graduates a chance to apply for administrative and managerial positions in the field. Some may also choose to become certified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Sonographers don't need a license to practice, but many employers prefer to hire licensed sonographers because it proves a candidate's level of skills and abilities. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers tests to sonographers in a number of field specialties, such as abdomen, breast and nervous system. Many certified sonographers continue to take classes throughout their careers to keep up on the latest trends in healthcare and diagnostics.
Due to the hands-on nature of this field, online programs in sonography are offered in hybrid format, in which students take some courses online but spend at least part of the time on campus to complete hands-on training. Students learn by following courses on DVDs and participating in student-teacher exchange in online chat rooms, message boards and e-mail. The program also requires students to take part in a clinical rotation program on-campus or at a local hospital.
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List of Popular Online Sonography Programs
Online Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Online certificate programs are available to students who have completed the natural science requirements for the field, or who hold a degree in nursing. The program combines an intensive clinical training with online seminars and specialized courses in sonography. A typical program lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 years and includes courses in medical terminology and clinical lab. Students can focus on one of multiple concentrations in sonography:
- General medical sonography
Online Associate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Online degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography are available in a hybrid format. Students follow online seminars and complete lessons while participating in clinical training in a local hospital or medical center. Most schools help arrange clinical training, which can take up to 30 hours a week for 16 weeks of the program. Coursework includes:
- Sonographic techniques
- Ultrasound of abdominal pathology
- Superficial structures and specialty examinations
- Principles of ultrasound and instrumentation
Online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare in Medical Sonography
An online bachelor's degree in healthcare is geared towards students who wish to work in administrative positions in healthcare. A degree offers students a deeper understanding of the healthcare profession by requiring students to take classes in a variety of the healthcare specializations, such as pharmacology, healthcare policy and healthcare management.
A major in medical sonography offers students interested in medical imaging a chance to develop managerial skills and knowledge of the profession applicable to entry-level management positions in the field. Online students are required to complete seminars and coursework while participating in a clinical training program at a local hospital or clinic. Some of the coursework for this degree includes:
- Epidemiology history and development
- Healthcare ethics
- Principles of leadership
- Health policy
- Ultrasound physics
Schools with Online Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
Washburn University offers a diagnostic medical sonography certificate program, in which students can complete all the coursework online. The program then works with students to arrange clinical experiences close to their homes. To qualify for this program, applicants must already possess an associate degree or higher in some type of hands-on health care field that included a clinical component, like respiratory therapy or occupational therapy assisting. They must also have completed coursework in human anatomy, physiology, college physics, communication, medical terminology, and a college-level math course.
Baker College offers a hybrid Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This program allows students to complete courses online, though they have to complete clinical and hands-on portions at medical facilities or on campus. Because of limited availability in clinical sites, students must meet the limited enrollment criteria, as set of standards that the admissions committee uses to select students for the program. A student's GPA in relevant courses will help them stand out in the crowd of applicants.
Nova Southeastern University offers a Bachelor of Science in Medical Sonography program partially online. Students will complete 30 credits of prerequisites before beginning the coursework for the sonography program, which will then take 27 months to complete. Students will have to have achieved at least a 2.75 GPA on these 30 hours of courses in order to be able to enroll in the program.
Diagnostic medical sonography is a field that can be studied partially online, as the need for clinical training makes is impossible to complete an entire program in a distance learning environment. Students may want to consider what type of degree they want to achieve, how they want the program to be delivered, and whether the program is accredited before making their decision.