Many schools offer online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree programs. Due to the clinical requirements, a bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography cannot be completed entirely online. However, a few schools do offer programs that consist of online courses and clinical experiences at a healthcare facility near the student's home. Other programs are completion programs for certified sonographers seeking the additional coursework they need for a bachelor's degree. These programs do not have clinical requirements.
Students seeking to become sonogram technicians through a bachelor's degree program learn about all types of digital imaging, including sonography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluoroscopy. Some schools allow students to pick a specialty area such as cardiac sonography or vascular sonography. Students study anatomy and physiology and learn about the principles of patient care. They get hands-on experience in a real-life setting during the clinical requirements.
Most employers require that sonographers be certified through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Certification usually requires graduation from an accredited program and passing an examination. Continuing education is required to keep the certification current. Some states require that diagnostic medical sonographers be licensed.
Bachelor Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
A Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography provides a solid foundation for students interested in a career in digital imaging. Sonography technicians use digital imaging procedures to take pictures of the inside of a patient's body. They work closely with patients and doctors, keep patients' records and operate digital imaging equipment. They are responsible for setting up and administering all diagnostic tests and ensuring that images are clear enough to be reviewed and analyzed by a physician.
Information and Requirements
Students can expect to devote four years to a bachelor's degree program. Students need a computer and Internet access. Assignments and material are maintained in an online course management system. Online presentations and traditional textbooks are used to create a virtual classroom environment.
Students enrolled in a bachelor degree program in sonography take a combination of general education and specialized, topic-specific classes. Courses in the major cover basic anatomy, physiology, equipment operation and digital image analysis.
Principles of Management for Professional Sonographers
Students look at the working conditions, roles and responsibilities of the professional sonographer. Special areas of focus include quality image outcomes, successful patient interaction, recruitment and retention, emotional interactions and mentoring skills.
Introduction to Diagnostic Imaging
This course gives students a comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of diagnostic imaging in a clinical setting. Students learn about computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, fluoroscopy, diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine.
Basics of Physiology and Anatomy
Students use modern technology to study certain systems of the body in-depth, such as circulatory, lymphatic, endocrine, digestive, urinary, respiratory and reproductive. This class includes both a lecture and lab component. Lab assignments can be completed and submitted online.
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers were excellent, predicted to grow 26% from 2014-2024 due to the number of aging baby boomers. The same report also revealed that, in 2015, about 65% of diagnostic medical sonographers worked in hospitals. They earned a median annual wage of $68,970 in 2015. Sonography technicians may advance by obtaining experience, knowledge and credentials in specialized areas of sonography, such as abdominal, cardiac or obstetrics sonography.
In preparation for a career as a sonogram technician, students may pursue an online bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography. While these programs do involve in-person clinical training, they provide online courses covering topics such as physiology and anatomy, as well as the basics of diagnostic imaging.