|Program Levels||Certificate programs, associate degree; bachelor's degree|
|Field(s) of Study||Diagnostic medical sonography|
|Prerequisites:||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Online Availability:||Blended programs are available|
|In-Person Requirements||up to 1000 hours of supervised clinical experience at a hospital near the student's home|
|Program Length:||1-2 years for certificate programs; 2 years or less for associate's degree; 4 years for a bachelor's degree|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||24% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$63,630|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A diagnostic medical sonographer, also known as an ultrasound technologist, uses special equipment to produce sonograms, or ultrasound scans, of organs and bones within the human body. Online training programs in diagnostic medical sonography are rare, however, there are a few institutions that offer them at the certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree levels.
Programs typically require applicants to complete certain prerequisite courses prior to enrollment. In addition to didactic coursework, students must also complete clinical rotations. This experience is usually arranged at an affiliated hospital or clinic close to a student's home. Online diagnostic medical sonography students might also be required to visit campus a few times each semester to meet with faculty advisors. Online training programs in diagnostic medical sonography prepare students for certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) which offers credentials for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (RDMS), Registered Vascular Technologists (RVT), and Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers (RDCS).
Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
An online certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography can take anywhere from one to two years of full time study to complete depending on the area of focus. General sonography programs typically take longer than one to two years, while specialized programs like cardiac and vascular programs can be completed in a shorter amount of time. Enrolled students can expect to participate in clinicals for the duration of the program.
Associate's Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
An online associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography can often be completed in two years or less. Students must typically complete 1000 plus hours of supervised clinical work while enrolled in the program. Some programs allow students to choose a specialty such as vascular or cardiac sonography. Associate's degree programs typically include courses in:
- General sonography procedures
- Ultrasound physics
- Doppler procedures
Bachelor's Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
A distance education bachelor's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography generally can be completed in four years. Upon completion of their general education coursework which can be completed online, individuals enrolled in this program spend their junior and senior years in a professional, clinical setting. In addition to courses in diagnostic imaging and advanced sonography topics, bachelor's degree programs may cover:
- Clinical pharmacology
- Research methods
Graduates of online diagnostic medical sonography programs who have earned ARDMS certification are prepared for careers in hospitals, doctor's offices, and clinics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers made a median pay of $63,630 as of May 2015. The projected employment growth for this field is 24%, much faster than most occupations.
Online programs for aspiring diagnostic medical sonographers are not typically online. However, certificate, associate's degree, and bachelor's degrees can be taken online in conjunction with up to 1000 hours of supervised clinical experience at a hospital near the student's home.