At both levels, there are courses in anatomy, medical computer systems and medical terminology. Students gain fundamental knowledge in diagnostic medical sonography procedures, including equipment operation, safety procedures and patient care skills. There are extensive clinical components, and students may be prepared for voluntary certification.
A high school diploma or GED with knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics, along with strong oral and written communication skills are required. Some programs require volunteer experience in a clinical setting or CPR certification.
Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs in diagnostic medical sonography teach the practical skills necessary to operate ultrasound imaging equipment in doctors' offices, clinics and hospitals. Students learn to properly operate ultrasound equipment, recognize the signs of many diseases and interact with patients. The curriculum includes clinical training. Students take courses on the human body, medical diagnoses and imaging technology. The topics below are usually discussed:
- Ultrasound scanning methodology
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Ultrasound technology
Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in sonography often focus on obstetrics and gynecology, abdominal and cardiovascular ultrasound. Programs usually require students to complete extensive hands-on training with ultrasound imaging equipment through clinical practicums. Students in sonography B.S. programs learn to utilize sound waves to create images of internal spaces in the human body. Classes typically focus on the following subjects:
- High-resolution sonography
- Comparative imaging
- Vascular sonography
- Abdominal sonography
- Pelvic sonography
Popular Career Options
People who earn an A.A.S. in Diagnostic Medical Sonography have the skills needed to work in a number of entry-level medical careers. Graduates can work in physicians' offices, clinics or hospitals in the careers noted below:
- Ultrasound technician
- Vascular technologist
People who earn a B.S. in Diagnostic Medical Sonography qualify for ultrasound technology positions relating to medical diagnosis, neonatal care and even veterinary care. The following careers are common options:
- Intraoperative imaging technician
- Animal imaging specialist
- Musculoskelatal imaging technician
Continuing Education Options
Employers usually prefer to hire graduates of sonography programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Sonographers can obtain voluntary certification by taking an exam offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Graduates of Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs prepared for entry-level positions in hospitals or doctors' offices where graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program qualify for ultrasound technology positions.