In a Diagnostic Medical Sonography program students learn how to use and operate ultrasound technology and interact with patients. Aspiring ultrasound technicians can earn associate's or bachelor's level degrees in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs include clinical experience, and students may have the opportunity to specialize in obstetric sonography, gynecological sonography, neurosonography, breast sonography and abdominal sonography.
Prerequisites for an associate's degree programs include having a high school diploma or GED. An associate's degree and anatomy, biology and college level algebra courses are often required for enrollment in a bachelor's degree program.
Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Ultrasonography technicians use sound waves to generate images of internal systems and organs. This technology can be particularly useful in the field of obstetrics; one popular use of ultrasound equipment is to procure images of fetuses. Students are instructed in methods of directing patients, setting up equipment, performing examinations and looking for visual diagnostic clues in ultrasound images.
Courses included in a two-year associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography are highly practical and often include laboratory or clinical components.
- Ultrasound equipment
- Diagnostic sonography
- Patient care
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Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Some coursework involved in a four-year program in diagnostic medical sonography might include:
- Sectional anatomy
- Basic patient care
- Abdominal sonography
- Gynecological sonography
- Vascular sonography
- Sonography clinical practicum
The career options for a bachelor's degree holder in diagnostic medical sonography are not that much different than those available for an individual with an associate's degree in the field. However, bachelor's degree holders are more likely to advance to positions of administration and management within their given departments. Graduates can also work as ultrasound technology researchers.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The employment rate for diagnostic medical sonographers, which include ultrasound technologists, is predicted to increase by 26% between 2014 and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That percentage is much higher than the average for all professions. As of May 2015, diagnostic medical sonographers earned a median income of $68,970, per the BLS.
Individuals can get the technical and communication skills needed to become an ultrasound technologist from an associate's degree program in diagnostic medical sonography. Many graduates from these programs go on to earn a bachelor's degrees in the field to advance their careers and go into a management position.