Ultrasound schooling is commonly available partially or fully online through undergraduate certificate programs or via degree completion programs for existing ultrasound professionals looking to earn a bachelor's degree. Programs are available in general, vascular and cardiac sonography.
Regardless of which sonography specialty a distance education student plans to pursue, there are some basic courses that he or she must take, including college algebra, computer science and psychology. Other ultrasound schooling requirements generally include:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Introduction to diagnostic imaging
- Common sonographic instruments
General ultrasound programs typically cover a wider variety of body parts than vascular or cardiac ultrasound programs, and they sometimes include vascular ultrasound courses as well. Thus, general ultrasound curricula may have more required coursework than other programs.
Online courses generally include:
- Abdominal anatomy and physiology
- Abdominal ultrasound procedures
- Small body parts sonographic procedures
- Female anatomy and diseases
- Female anatomy procedures
- Obstetrical procedures
- Special procedures for breasts and nerves
- Biopsy and puncture procedures
Vascular sonographers must be able to scan veins and arteries in every part of the body, which requires knowledge of a number of monitoring and diagnostic instruments. A variety of techniques also are learned, including Doppler waveforms, plethysmography, hemodynamics and pressure measurements.
The following coursework might be included in an online vascular sonography program:
- Cerebrovascular system
- Peripheral venous and arterial systems
- Abdominal vasculature
- Sonographic techniques for vascular systems
- Specialized vascular techniques including transcranial Doppler
- Mapping procedures
Cardiac ultrasound technicians, also known as echocardiographers, take pictures of the heart to show how it's working and how blood is flowing through and around it. They must be able to make decisions as to which images to save for cardiologists.
Classes in a distance education cardiac sonography program generally include:
- Cardiovascular principles
- Cardiovascular ultrasound physics and instruments
- Cardiovascular scanning and monitoring
- Cardiac pathology on an echocardiograph
- Stress echoes
- Contrast echocardiographs
- Transesophageal echocardiographs
Undergraduate certificate or bachelor degree programs in ultrasound schooling are available both partially and fully online. Areas of specialization include general, vascular, and cardiac sonography, all of which offer more focused coursework, with all three requiring general courses like medical terminology and physics.