The state of Florida is home to many schools that offer training in medical sonography. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that medical sonographers often have an associate or bachelor's degree in sonography, though certificate programs are also available. Students in Florida can find medical sonography programs at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. Employers may prefer to hire those who have completed a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Located in Fort Lauderdale, this college provides a 2-year, 72-semester hour program leading to an Associate in Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, echocardiography, medical sonographic physics and abdomen sonography, along with general education coursework. Students take classes year-round and participate in clinical experiences at area clinics and hospitals throughout the program.
Hillsborough Community College
This Tampa college's diagnostic medical sonography program comprises 72 credit hours. Participants study sonographic imaging, human anatomy/physiology, abdominal sonography and obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN) sonography. Several clinical practicums are also required.
Miami Dade College
Located in Miami, this college offers an AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Students are expected to take the program on a full-time basis. Courses in the program include echocardiography, anatomy and physiology, physics, directed research, neurosonography and OB/GYN sonography. Students can expect to spend around 1,920 hours in supervised clinical experiences.
Nova Southeastern University
This university in Fort Lauderdale offers a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in General and Vascular Sonography. The vascular part of the program is accredited. There is also a combined BHS/Master of Health Science (MHS) program. After taking prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, human biology, physics, math, humanities and the social and behavioral sciences, students in both programs take courses in OB/GYN ultrasound, small parts sonography, abdominal sonography and ultrasound physics. Major coursework for both programs is taken online. Bachelor's degree students take a 12-month clinical externship in the second year.
Students in the 27-month master's degree program take core courses that include epidemiology, biostatistics, writing for medical publication, ultrasound physics and OB/GYN sonography, among other areas. The second year comprises a 1,700 clinical externship that is undertaken simultaneously with the online coursework and a research project.
Palm Beach State College
Located in Lake Worth, this college offers both a certificate and an associate degree in sonography. Applicants to either program must have completed either a 2-year patient care educational program at the college level; a bachelor's degree program with prerequisite courses in allied health or a year of direct patient care experience; or a patient care program of less than one year plus one year of direct patient care experience.
Participants study ethical procedures, OB/GYN and abdominal sonography, patient care, sonographic cross-sectional anatomy and sonographic patterns. The associate degree program requires general education units. The 14-month sonography curriculum begins with a summer term and includes clinical experiences in local hospitals.
Pensacola State College
This Pensacola college's associate degree program in diagnostic medical sonography is actively seeking accreditation from CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs). Coursework includes abdominal sonography, medical sonography physics, superficial structures, sonography of the circulatory system and OB/GYN sonography. The last three terms of the 5-semester program include clinical experiences. Students must take anatomy and physiology, algebra, physics and English as prerequisites to the program.
Polk State College
Applicants to this AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program in Winter Haven are required to complete background checks, screenings, physical exams and immunizations. Prerequisites for the program include anatomy and physiology, algebra, composition and physics. Applicants also must have current CPR certification.
Coursework for the 2-year program must be taken in sequence. Students take an introductory class in sonography along with courses in anatomy and physiology (second level), procedures and protocols, medical terminology and cross-sectional anatomy during the first term, which begins in January. Subsequent coursework includes neurosonology, OB/GYN sonography and abdominal sonography. Students complete a total of four clinical practicums.
Santa Fe College
The advanced certificate program in diagnostic medical sonography at Santa Fe College in Gainesville admits students with associate degrees in allied health areas and bachelor's degree holders with acceptable prerequisites. Throughout this 1-year program, students learn how to provide patient care, analyze ultrasound images and prepare medical reports for physicians through working in various hospitals and imaging centers in the area. Through lab and classroom participation, students learn about abdominal, OB/GYN and superficial sonography, as well as how to use instrumentation and identify internal structures.
The associate degree program in diagnostic medical sonography at Valencia College in Orlando consists of courses in medical sonography, medical terminology, abdominal sonography and OB/GYN sonography. Students also learn about safe, ethical and skilled patient care. Before being admitted, students must complete 20 credit hours of prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology, psychology, algebra, composition and the humanities.
The BLS also mentions that many employers prefer certified sonographers, although licensure is not required in the state of Florida. Certification can be obtained by graduating from an accredited program in diagnostic medical sonography and passing an exam.
The nine largest private non-profit and public colleges with accredited diagnostic medical sonography degree and certificate programs are listed below. All programs prepare graduates to sit for national certification exams, such as those offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Eight of the nine programs are CAAHEP accredited; Pensacola State College is not currently accredited.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Medical Sonography Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Broward College||4-year, public; large suburb||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,830 in-state;
|Hillsborough Community College||2-year, public; large city||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,506 in-state;
|Miami Dade College||4-year, public; large city||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,838 in-state;
|Nova Southeastern University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||BHS in General and Vascular Sonography,
BHS/MHS in General and Vascular Sonography
|Palm Beach State College||4-year, public; large suburb||Certificate in Sonography,
AS in Sonography
| $2,444 in-state;
|Pensacola State College||4-year, public; small city||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,704 in-state;
|Polk State College||4-year, public; small city||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $3,366 in-state;
|Santa Fe College||4-year, public; midsize suburb||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,563 in-state;
|Valencia College||4-year, public; midsize city||AS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $2,474 in-state;
Source: *NCES College Navigator