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Certificate Programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

A certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography prepares students to operate ultrasound diagnostic equipment in a medical setting. Training includes patient positioning, organ location and interpretation of images.

Essential Information

Students in these certificate programs may specialize in vascular sonography, echocardiography, obstetrical-gynecological ultrasound and general sonography. It's important to note that there is a clinical component to this program, and online courses may be included in some programs.

Community colleges require that applicants have a degree or certificate in radiography. Additionally, there may be prerequisites in mathematics, anatomy and physiology, and physics. Community colleges may request letters of recommendation and a personal interview as well.


Certificate of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Diagnostic medical sonographers work closely with physicians and are responsible for operating ultrasound diagnostic equipment, which uses sound waves, to generate images of internal organs. Training in this field is typically at the certificate level. Diagnostic medical sonography certificate programs qualify graduates for certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Hands-on experience with diagnostic medical sonography equipment is a key component of a certificate program in the diagnostic medical field. Courses in the first semester or first year, depending on the length of the program, focus on the scientific principles of sonography. Courses may include:

  • Sectional anatomy
  • Acoustical physics
  • Abdominal sonography
  • Echocardiography for adults
  • OB/GYN sonography
  • Vascular sonography

Continuing Education Information

Completion of a diagnostic medical sonography certificate does not qualify graduates to work as songraphers. Graduates must first pass a certifying exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). For those graduates who want to receive more training in the field, many universities offer bachelor's degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth of employment for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by about 24% between 2014 and 2024. A primary reason for the increase in employment is the public perception of sonography as a safer alternative to radiologic imaging methods. The BLS reports that the annual mean salary of a diagnostic medical sonographer in May 2015 was $70,880.

Students who pursue a certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography typically need a healthcare certification for admission. These programs may offer specializations and include clinical training and didactic coursework. Graduates can pursue employment as sonographers, a field that's expected to grow faster than average in the 2014-2024 decade.


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