Although only a few states had licensure requirements for diagnostic medical sonographers as of 2014, students must typically be certified by an agency such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) in order to gain employment as a sonographer. Students must consider clinical experience hours and accreditation prior to enrolling in a program.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer medical sonography programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||Jonesboro, AK||4-year, public||Bachelor's||In-state $8,050; Out-of-state $14,050|
|University of Missouri-Columbia||Columbia, MS||4-year, public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state $9,509; Out-of-state $25,166|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||4-year, private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$37,124|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||4-year, public||Certificate, Bachelor's||In-state $8,104; Out-of-state $27,890|
|University of Kansas||Lawrence, KS||4-year, public||Certificate||$1,300 per semester for 5 semesters**|
|Mayo School of Health Sciences||Rochester, MN||4-year, private not-for-profit||Certificate||$564|
|Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||Omaha, NE||4-year, private not-for-profit||Associate's||$13,418|
|Rutgers University-New Brunswick||New Brunswick, NJ||4-year, public||Certificate, Bachelor's||In-state $14,131; Out-of-state $29,521|
|Weber State University||Ogden, UT||4-year, public||Bachelor's||In-state $5,321; Out-of-state $14,235|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); **School website
School Selection Criteria
There are a number of things to consider when selecting a sonography program.
- Students should seek programs that are accredited by entities such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in order to more easily qualify for the certification examination; a list of accredited CAAHEP programs is available on the organization's official website (www.caahep.org).
- Specialty areas are available in vascular sonography and cardiac sonography; students interested in specialty areas should enroll in programs that offer specialized clinical sites.
- Clinical experiences vary in extensiveness from program to program. Students who have completed 2-year programs in specialty areas related to patient care but that are not specific to sonography, as well as students who have completed unrelated bachelor's degrees, must complete 12 months of clinical experience in order to qualify for the ARDMS exam.
- Students who hold associate degrees as well as ARDMS certification may enroll in online bachelor's degree programs through select schools.
Certificate in Sonography
Certificate programs in sonography are typically designed for students who have already completed health care programs in different fields and who now wish for advancement through specialization. Certificate programs offer courses on sonographic techniques for various body parts, such as the abdomen, breasts or reproductive organs. They include clinical experiences.
Associate Degree in Sonography
Associate degrees in diagnostic medical sonography usually require prerequisite courses in physics, algebra and anatomy, as well as courses in all aspects of sonography, including technology and medical terminology. Clinical experiences are typically extensive, and coursework has a general education component.
Bachelor's Degree in Sonography
Bachelor's-level sonography programs are sometimes offered as a Bachelor of Science in Health Science; others are offered as straight-up sonography degrees. Bachelor's degrees commonly include more prerequisites, may offer specialty areas such as vascular sonography, and often include more extensive clinical requirements than associate's degree programs.
A career in medical sonography requires accredited training to complete a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. A number of public and private institutions offer programs, and some programs allow students to specialize in cardiac sonography or vascular sonography.