How to become a Sonogram Technician

  • Sonogram technicians are also called ultrasound technicians. They conduct diagnostic imaging procedures with a doctor’s supervision. They also assess obstetric, abdominal, neurological and gynecologic ultrasounds. Their medical services are mostly required by medical clinics and hospitals, who offer better opportunities to sonogram technicians with at least an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography and one year of experience.

  • Requirements to become a sonogram technician

    To become a sonogram technician, one needs a high school diploma or GED certificate. This should help aspiring sonographers to enroll in an associate’s degree program. After finishing this program, they can take the certification exam provided by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

    Two-year vs. Four-year Degrees

    Most sonogram technicians start working with a two-year educational program at an accredited community college, college, or training hospital. This program usually covers the basic sciences and courses focusing more on physiology and human anatomy, as well as interpreting ultrasound images. Hands-on clinical experience is often required.

    There is also a four-year bachelor’s degree program for aspiring sonographers. Completing this program may qualify them for high ranking positions, such as management or supervisory positions.

    During any of these programs, students are taught medical terminology and anatomy, preparing the sonography equipment, and interpreting sonographic images. They also get clinical training. Later on, they are allowed to choose which area to specialize in, such as breast sonography or abdominal sonography.

    Certificate Programs for Sonogram technicians

    Candidates who are already working as in the medical field or have completed degrees in nursing and who now want to become sonogram technicians can take certificate programs. They usually require one year, covering coursework and clinical training. As medical field workers, they can make do without general education classes, helping speed up the certification process. Employers still accept the certificate since they consider it as similar to getting a degree in sonography because almost the same curriculum is taken up.

    Sonogram technician Certification

    Sonogram technicians who want to boost their credentials can get certified in a specialty area. While this is not required for a sonogram technician, it does help improve their employment opportunities. A certification exam is provided by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Both credentialing organizations test the theoretical and practical understanding of what sonography is all about. Sonogram technicians can always choose to specialize in abdominal sonography, fetal echocardiography, or vascular technology.

    Sonogram tech Online Degree Programs

    Aspiring sonogram technicians can find an online associate degree focusing more on sonographic instrumentation, ultrasound procedures, and medical terminology. One can take a two-year online program in diagnostic medical sonography to get an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree.

    Most of these distance learning programs combine online and on-campus classes. They all require hands-on training at an imaging center, a local hospital or a clinic. They usually require two years of studies.

    An online associate’s degree program for these technicians may include courses in sonographic instrumentation and procedures, such as those required for cardiovascular, vascular, gynecological, and abdominal purposes. There may also be courses such as medical terminology, pathophysiology, sectional anatomy, imaging ethics, and sonographic physics. The online curriculum may also include a clinical practicum.

    Continuing Education for sonogram technicians

    Sonogram technicians can keep their certification current by taking continuing education programs. For instance, they can maintain their ARDMS certification by completing 30 continuing medical education credits (CMEs) every three years. Read more about Sonogram technician salary.

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