Only a few universities offer ultrasound technology programs at the master's level; most degree programs are at the associate's or bachelor's levels. Graduate programs include the Master in Health Science with specializations in vascular sonography or in diagnostic medical sonography. Other specialty options may include echocardiography, vascular, abdomen, and obstetrics and gynecology. The successful completion of a master's degree program in ultrasound technology could prepare graduates for certification eligibility.
Prerequisites for the master's degree program include GRE scores, basic computer skills, an admissions interview, and a bachelor's degree. Students may be admitted without a bachelor's degree if specific courses are completed.
Master's Degree in Ultrasound Technology
A master's degree program in ultrasound technology encompasses lectures and clinical training requiring students to have a strong science background. Course topics include:
- Adult and pediatric cardiac ultrasound
- Vascular ultrasound, principles and hemodynamics
- Clinical pathology
- Medical and clinical ethics
- Ultrasound research and practicum
- Ultrasound physics and instrumentation
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected in 2014 that job growth for sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians would grow about 24% through 2024 (www.bls.gov) . In May 2015, the BLS reported that sonographers earned a median annual wage of $68,970. These statistics varied according to geographic area, specialties, and experience.
Sonographers are not required to obtain a license in order to work in any state in the U.S. However, there are voluntary certifications available from a number of organizations. Gaining registration or certification may increase an applicant's chances of obtaining employment. Certification involves passing an exam. Registered sonographers must become re-certified on a periodic basis, which requires completion of continuing education courses.
Master's degree programs in ultrasound technology include courses that focus on topics such as vascular ultrasound, principles and hemodynamics, and clinical pathology, as well as clinical training. Completion of this program can ready graduates for certifications that are important to many employers.