Associate Degree in Medical Diagnostics

An associate degree in medical diagnostics will train students in the use of MRI, x-ray and ultrasound to detect and help diagnose various medical conditions.

Essential Information

High school graduates who are interested in studying medical diagnostics can explore 2-year Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science programs in diagnostic medical sonography. Students learn about abdominal, gynecological and vascular sonography procedures. CPR certification may be required for admission.


Associate Degree in Medical Diagnostics

The medical diagnostic curriculum includes lectures, lab work and clinical education experiences where students can get hands-on training. They will develop communication skills and a thorough understanding of anatomy and medical terminology. Course topics cover the following:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Sonography for abdominopelvic cavity
  • Ultrasound instrumentation
  • OB/GYN sonography
  • Sonographic physics and applications
  • Clinical pathology

Popular Career Options

Graduates of this program are prepared for entry-level positions in many healthcare settings, including clinics, hospitals or physician's offices. Although graduates are typically referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, with sufficient study and training they may specialize in specific areas of sonography. Some common specialties include:

  • Breast sonographer
  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonographer
  • Neurosonographer
  • Abdominal sonographer

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Although diagnostic medical sonographers are not required to be licensed, certification could be a way for sonographers to improve their employment opportunities. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential for eligible applicants who pass a certification exam. The ARDMS also offers certification in specialty areas. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers certification examinations in sonography and specialty areas. Graduates can also pursue bachelor's degree programs in medical sonography or radiography.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Much faster than average employment growth of 26% was predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for diagnostic medical sonographers from 2014-2024. In 2015, these professionals earned an annual median salary of $68,970.

Associate programs in medical diagnostics help students learn how to use various types of medical equipment in the diagnosing of patients. Graduates can often seek entry-level employment in sonography or pursue more advanced degrees in the field. Attaining certification can also help to expand opportunities.


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