Students in Massachusetts seeking ultrasound programs have few schools from which to choose. All of the available programs in the state lead to the award of associate's degrees, which may be completed in about two years. In addition to traditional classroom instruction and lab training, ultrasound students will need to complete a practicum or clinical requirements in the field. Admission requirements may include a drug screening, background check, and immunization records, among others.
Bunker Hill Community College
Located in Boston, Bunker Hill Community College offers a competitive associate's degree in medical imaging with four options: full- and part-time options in medical radiography, general sonography and cardiac sonography. General and cardiac sonography are full-time programs that take two years to complete.
Requirements for students admitted into the two-year generalist and specialist sonography programs include a criminal background check, malpractice and health insurance, CPR certification, a physical exam and immunization records, including documentation of the Hepatitis B series. The curricula include a clinical component and introduce students to general and specialized ultrasound techniques. A course in physics or the science of imaging technology is required. Graduates are eligible to take ARDMS exams.
Middlesex Community College
Bedford's Middlesex Community College offers an associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography. The program includes an extensive clinical practicum and prepares graduates for the ARDMS certifying exam. This is a competitive program. The admissions committee urges applicants to do an observation in an ultrasound department before applying. Candidates need to complete prerequisites that include college-level anatomy and physiology and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
Other admissions requirements include a supplemental admission application and three letters of recommendation. Admitted students need to have a health exam, CPR certification and documentation of immunization. On completion of the 70-credit program, which includes clinical practica, students continue on to additional clinical training to become eligible for the ARDMS professional certification exam.
Springfield Technical Community College
Springfield Technical Community College offers an associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography, which blends classroom, laboratory and hands-on clinical training through an eight-week clinical practicum. Only ten students are admitted each fall into this two-year day program, which requires summer enrollment. Among program prerequisites are completion of college-level biology, general physics and medical terminology. Applicants must submit an essay.
Admitted students are required to pass a physical exam and submit immunization records. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for both generalist and specialized ARDMS exams, specifically the sonography principles and instrumentation exam and the abdominal and OB/GYN ultrasound specializations.
Many employers require that ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, be professionally certified. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers professional certifications to generalists and specialists in this field, including Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer, Registered Vascular Technologist, and Registered in Musculoskeletal.
Among the various eligibility paths for taking the ARDMS certification exams is graduation from a program in diagnostic medical sonography accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Each of the three programs discussed are accredited by CAAHEP.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Ultrasound Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Two-year, public; large city|| Associate in Science in Cardiac Sonography,
Associate in Science in General Sonography
Associate in Science in Radiography
| $4,464 in-state
|Middlesex Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography|| $6,110 in-state
|Springfield Technical Community College||Two-year, public; midsized city||Associate in Science in Medical Imaging - Diagnostic Medical Sonography concentration|| $5,088 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator