A bachelor's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography usually includes 2-3 years of training in the basic sciences and medicine, with 1-2 years of hands-on training at a clinical location. Some programs may require students to specialize in vascular sonography or echocardiography.
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Bachelor's Degree Programs in Ultrasound Technology
Bachelor's degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography are generally offered through departments of health or medical sciences at 4-year colleges or universities. Like all bachelor's degrees, incoming students will need a high school education and SAT or ACT scores, as well as CPR certification and a background check. Up-to-date immunization records may also be requested.
In addition to the core coursework in the basic sciences, sonography students complete the following courses as part of the professional curriculum:
- Medical terminology
- Abdominal sonography
- Vascular imaging
- Gynecologic sonography
- Cardiac sonography
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase at a rate of 26% between the years 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the national average for all jobs. This growth is expected due to an increase in the elderly population who may require ultrasounds to diagnose and treat medical conditions. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage for these professionals was $70,880 (www.bls.gov)
Licensure is not required to practice diagnostic sonography. However, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography administers a certification process for general sonographers; those who complete the process are designated Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (RDMS). The certification program covers basic sonography principles and the use of ultrasound equipment. Certification in the areas of obstetrics and gynecology, abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, and neurosonology are also available.
Through a bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography, students learn key skills required in their career field. While licensure is not required, there are many opportunities for professional certification.