Sonographer Career Information
Sonographers operate sonography machines for medical surveys and diagnostic imaging for patients. This career is best suited for detail-oriented people with good technical skills. It's relatively easy to prepare for this career online, but some of the certification steps must be completed in-person. The chart below offers a brief overview of the career.
|Required Skills||Technical Skills, Detail-Oriented, Interpersonal Skills|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||19%*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$72,510 per year*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps for Becoming a Sonographer Online
Most of the following steps can be completed online except for the optional certifications offered through in-person testing. The steps ahead offer concrete ways to advance toward becoming a sonographer, as well as optional qualifications to increase your competitiveness in the job market.
Step One: Prepare and Study
Sonographers have to be knowledgeable and detail-oriented. Those wishing to take steps toward becoming a sonographer should start with basic study and practice. Understanding sonography basics will not only put you ahead of your peers in terms of completing any official sonography education or certification but also will stand as a solid first step in becoming a professional sonographer. Online you can find free sonography practice tests, as well as exam prep and practice material for later optional certification.
There are also free online resources, such as videos from professionals in the field, that can instruct you on the specifics of working as a sonographer and of sonography itself. You can find videos online of specific sonography scenarios, as well as general tips and frequently asked questions.
Step Two: Complete a Postsecondary Sonography Program
Completing a bachelor's degree in sonography is a great way to learn about the career and the science, and set yourself apart as a better candidate for employment. These postsecondary degree programs will instruct students on anatomy, reading sonography, discerning abnormalities, contextualizing sonography within a patient's clinical history, research, synthesis of sonographic images, and more.
Several associates, bachelor's and certificate programs in medical sonography are offered fully online. Common courses include intro to medical imaging, applications of abdominal sonography, pelvic sonography, physics of medical imaging, sonographic pathology, medical terminology, human anatomy, and more.
Step Three: Become Licensed
Although not required per se, most employers want to hire licensed or certified candidates to be sonographers. Candidates can be licensed automatically by completing an accredited program, but it can also be attained independently. Many organizations offer licensures including the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International. The ARDMS certification, for example, involves two levels of testing. The first test, the Sonography Principles and Instruments exam, tests your broader knowledge within the field of sonography. The second test will correspond to the specific area you wish to specialize in; for example, abdomen, breast, or pediatric sonography.
Those wishing to become professional sonographers might also find it helpful to complete basic life support training, such as CPR certification. Certifications such as these might be required by specific states or employers, but either way, they can make a candidate stand out to employers.