Online Courses in Sonography
Below are some medical sonography courses that are commonly offered online.
- Physics of Ultrasonography Course: This course introduces the basic underlying physics of ultrasound as used for diagnostic medical imaging. Students learn how different frequencies of ultrasonic waves interact with tissues of various densities and depths within the body. They also receive a detailed explanation of the sonography process, including the production of sound waves, receipt of echoes, and formation and display of images.
- Sonographic Scanning and Instrumentation Course: This course discusses sonographic scanning practices. Students learn to optimize their scans through an understanding of equipment and instrumentation used, scan preparation procedures, anatomical positioning and transducer movements. Modes of sonography, including A-mode, B-mode, M-mode and Doppler mode, are covered, along with their attributes and applications.
- Obstetric and Gynecological Sonography Course: Students in this course explore sonographic scanning of the pelvis and gravid uterus in gynecologic and obstetric patients. They gain in-depth knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system, while learning techniques for acquiring cross-sectional scans. Diagnoses of trauma, specific diseases and non-specific manifestations are covered.
- Cardiovascular Physiology and Sonography Course: Principles of cardiovascular ultrasound are the emphasis of this course, through which students learn to identify normal cardiac processes from various pathological echocardiographic manifestations. Included is an in-depth study of the anatomy and physiology of the heart and great vessels, ventricle function and associated terminology. Echo indications and assessment also are discussed so that students will have the didactic knowledge to acquire accurate cardiac images for diagnostic purposes.
- Abdominal Sonography Course: In this course students learn how to recognize both normal and abnormal abdominal scans. Students will study common pathologies that can be detected with an abdominal sonogram. Special attention will be paid to organ systems in the abdominal cavity, including the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, GI tract, and others.
- Introduction to Diagnostic Imaging Course: This course is a basic introduction to the science of radiology. Students learn about x-rays, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, CT (computerized tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and PET (photon emission tomography) scans.
- Comprehensive Sonography Course: This advance course introduces students to the higher level scanning practices involved with cardiac, vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal scanning. Students will receive an in-depth review of invasive procedures and scanning protocols used while the patient is undergoing surgery (intra-operative scanning.) An extensive review of all phases of sonography is included in order to prepare students to sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonogaphy (ARDMS) exam.
A handful of schools offer programs with online sonography courses that provide the full didactic portion of a diagnostic medical sonographer's education in topics such as anatomy and physiology, pathology and scanning techniques specific to various parts of the body. Coupled with hands-on clinical training, completion of these online courses can lead to an undergraduate degree or certificate in general sonography or one of the field's subspecialties of vascular or cardiac sonography. Graduates can also qualify to test for voluntary certification in general sonography and sonography specialties through recognized bodies like the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Most employers prefer to hire sonographers who hold or are eligible for these designations since they are an indicator of experience and skill.
Students interested in careers in the medical sonography field can find classes in all facets of the field online at several colleges and universities. Hands-on clinical experience, which is essential for employment in the field, can be done at an approved facility in the student's hometown.