As a sonographer you will use ultrasound equipment to create diagnostic images in a hospital, imaging center or lab. The sonographer will use radiation and different imaging processes that will help to produce useful images of different parts of the human body including the female reproductive system, the heart, brain and nervous system. Earning a degree in this field will qualify the professional for higher paying positions in this field and will also allow them to work in supervisory roles.
Degrees for Diagnostic Sonography
The associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography is a two year program that can prepare a student for several methods used in the sonography field. The student will learn how to perform MRI’s, ultrasounds and x-rays and can qualify for work in specialty areas such as obstetrics, the heart or the brain. As a sonography student you’ll learn how to use radiation and radio waves in order to produce medical images. These programs will also provide an internship within a hospital, imaging lab or clinic in order to give the student a realistic view of the field, working with professional sonographers as they complete their daily routines and teach students how to operate, calibrate and maintain the ultrasound machinery. The requirements for a sonography program will vary, depending on each school. The majority of programs will require a high school diploma and high SAT scores.
The coursework for this type of program will feature classes in cross sectional anatomy, clinical sonography, medical terminology, patient documentation, vascular sonography and abdominal sonography. While licensing in this field is not required by the state, the majority of employers will only hire those potential employees that have obtained certification through the ARDMS.
A bachelor’s degree for this health care profession can increase job advancement opportunities and a significantly higher annual salary. This is a four to five year program that will help a student to develop a proficiency in several areas and teach students how to communicate with other medical professionals in the field while also teaching them the proper way to interact with patients and provide adequate patient documentation. The coursework involved in a bachelor’s program will include classes in cardiovascular sonography, Doppler sonography, health care management, trends in the health care field and hemodynamics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average sonography salary for those individuals with a bachelor’s degree ranged from 58,000$ to 60,000$ in 2011. With this type of degree a sonographer will have the required qualifications for positions such as lead sonographer or chief diagnostic sonographer. This type of education also qualifies for a position in teaching sonography courses in medical centers and schools.
Once the student has completed a program they will need to take the ARDMS certification exam to obtain their license in this field. As a professional sonographer they will be required to earn continuing education hours each year to qualify for their license renewal. To earn CE hours the sonographer can attend lectures, seminars or complete at home or in-class study courses. Online exams are also available and can be found through the ARDMS website.