Sonography technology bachelor's degree programs, sometimes known as diagnostic imaging or ultrasound programs, prepare students to use diagnostic sonography technology to obtain images from inside a patient's body. Accredited programs also prepare students for certification. In addition to coursework, students could learn imaging techniques and equipment operation through lab exercises and clinical experiences. Sonography specializations include abdominal, obstetrics, gynecology, vascular, ophthalmic, and veterinary sonography, neurosonography, and echocardiography. These programs lead to a Bachelor of Science degree.
Applicants to a bachelor's degree program must have a high-school diploma or GED. Those who already hold an associate's degree in the field may be able to transfer some or all of their credits and complete the program within two years instead of the usual four.
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Bachelor's Degree in Sonography Technology
Students enrolled in a bachelor's in sonography technology program take classroom instruction as well as participating in clinical experiences. Programs generally cover all areas of sonography (i.e., general, cardiac, and vascular) while allowing students to choose an area or areas of interest for their clinical training. Students enrolled in a sonography technology bachelor's degree program may take the following courses:
- Anatomy and physiology in sonography
- Vascular sonography technology
- Abdominal sonography technology
- Sonographic patient care
- Obstetric sonography technology
- Gynecological sonography technology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a much-faster-than-average job growth of 24% in the 2014-2024 decade. Employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree to individuals with a certificate or associate's degree. Earning a bachelor's degree may result in more job and advancement opportunities in addition to higher pay. The BLS reported in 2015 that diagnostic medical sonographers made a mean annual salary of $70,880.
Though certification isn't required for diagnostic medical sonographers, employers strongly prefer to hire certified professionals. After passing an accredited degree program, candidates can sit for an exam in their sonography specialty to attain certification. Some states may also require sonographers to be licensed, and certification is a common requirement for licensure.
Common sonography graduate degrees include the Master of Health Science with a specialization in vascular sonography, the Master of Science in Imaging Science and the Doctor of Philosophy in Imaging Science. To enroll in a sonography technology graduate degree program, students typically must have earned a bachelor's degree in sonography technology or other pre-medicine program. In addition, they must have maintained a grade point average of 2.5 or above and have taken courses in physics, a computer language and calculus.
Graduates of a bachelor's degree in sonography technology are likely to earn higher pay and have more job opportunities than those holding an associate's degree. Although certification is not required, it is highly recommended.