Ultrasound technicians, also called sonographers, operate equipment that directs sound waves into a patient's body, creating images of the internal structures. Most programs provide general instruction in all areas of ultrasound technology, but students may have to choose a specialty for their clinical work.
Students in a bachelor's degree program can take the sonography principles and instruments exam from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) prior to graduation, which allows them to enter the job market with professional credentials.
Bachelor of Science Degrees in Ultra Sound Technology
Before entering their ultrasound program, students could be required to complete classes in anatomy, medical terminology and physics. Classes in biology, math and computer fundamentals might also need to be completed. Students in an ultrasound technology program take courses in instrumentation, echocardiography, vascular sonography and obstetric ultrasound. Many programs allow students to gain hands-on experience working in a health care facility. Course topics include:
- Medical ethics
- Abdominal imaging
- Ultrasound physics
- Health care trends
- Doppler ultrasound
Popular Career Options
Sonographers can find employment in hospitals, medical labs and doctor's offices. Sonographers could also work as contractors and might travel to different locations to work with patients. Some career titles include obstetric sonographer, abdominal sonographer, and neurosonographer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of diagnostic medical sonographers will increase by 19% from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). As reported by the BLS in May of 2018, these imaging professionals earned a median annual salary of $72,510.
Continuing Education and Professional Certification
Sonographers do not have to be licensed, but employers might prefer to hire someone who is credentialed by a professional organization, according to the BLS. Sonographers can take ARDMS certification exams in ten specialty areas, such as musculoskeletal sonography, fetal echocardiography, neurosonology and vascular technology. Sonographers can seek training and credentials in more than one specialty. Credentials in breast imaging can be obtained through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, and Cardiovascular Credentialing International offers credentials in cardiac sonography.
A bachelor's of science degree prepares aspiring ultra sound technologists for entry-level positions in a growing field. Specialization and certification help to further solidify job opportunities and possibilities for advancement.