Some schools offer an obstetrics and gynecology specialization in associate's-level diagnostic medical sonography programs, which prepare students to take diagnostic images of the abdomen. The curriculum of such programs emphasizes patient and OBGYN tech interactions and includes a laboratory component where students can practice imaging methods. Many programs include a clinical component as well.
Community colleges require that students complete high school or hold a GED certificate. In some instances, scores for the ACT exam will be needed for admission into a two year associate's in diagnostic medical imaging program.
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Associate's Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Students in an OBGYN concentration will typically complete general education courses such as algebra, anatomy, and physiology, in addition to specialized topics that provide concrete tools for future professionals. Some of these may include:
- Small parts and advanced abdomen ultrasound
- Quality control and ultrasound instrumentation
- Abdominal and OB/GYN clinical
- Physics for ultrasonography and health science
- Legal, ethical and patient care issues
- Ultrasonography and cross-sectional anatomy
Continuing Education Information
Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography can continue their studies and pursue a bachelor's degree. The bachelor's degree expands upon the curriculum in an associate's degree program and introduces new skill sets and DMS methodologies. Although the bachelor's degree program is not as prevalent as the associate's, graduates will be eligible to work in advanced DMS positions with OB/GYN offices.
Students who do not wish to continue their education can become a registered diagnostic medical sonographer. There are no certification processes mandated by the states; however, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers a program that certifies the skills of sonographers. Applicants that have successfully completed the process become registered diagnostic medical sonographers (RDMS). Additional continuing education courses are needed to maintain the certification and to keep track of recent technological advances in the field.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the projected growth of employment for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by 26% between 2014 and 2024. Rapid technological advancements in the field of obstetric sonography and the increasing need for skilled and knowledgeable OBGYN techs contribute to this growth. The BLS reports that the annual median salary for diagnostic medical sonographers was $68,970 as of May 2015.
OBGYN training is most commonly found at the associate's degree level, usually as a concentration within a diagnostic medical sonography program. Students have many job options after graduation with the options to continue to a bachelor's program and/or earn professional certification.