A popular and growing career field is one that no doubt you are keenly interested in learning about. Have you heard about becoming an ultrasound or medical songrapher? If you earn a diagnostic medical sonography degree, you will be in a position to join a lucrative and stable career. As of 2014, there were over 50,000 diagnostic sonographers or ultrasound technicians in the United States. Responsible for using ultrasound equipment to create sonic-images, over half of these professionals worked in hospitals. The other half worked in private physicians’ offices, laboratories, and outpatient care centers. The field is growing, and every year more people join the industry.
There are several different types of degree programs that will prepare you for a job in this field. These options range from training in the Armed Forces to two or four-year degree programs. The majority of interested applicants pursue two-year associates’ degrees. Currently, there are well over 100 institutions that offer two-year diagnostic medical sonography degrees.
The courses in these two-year programs cover topics like anatomy and physiology. Basically, these subjects concern where the body parts are and what they do. Other courses cover how to use the sonography equipment, how to care for patients, and medical ethics. The administrators of these programs prefer to accept applicants who have had experience in the medical field or who have taken high school classes in math, health, and science. At the conclusion of the two-year program, you will have earned an associates degree.
If you want a bachelor’s degree, you can obtain one for this field. There are fewer than 100 four-year colleges that offer these degrees. They cover similar information as the associates degrees do. However, these degrees cover some scientific topics in more depth, and they also require the student to take more general courses including English, History, and a foreign language.
Applicants who are already working in the health care industry may be able to by-pass both of these options and obtain a one year certificate. Unless you have experience in the industry, it is not advisable to pursue the one-year option. Employers really only recognize this certificate if it is backed up by experience.
Currently, no states require their sonographers to be certified. However, it is much easier to get a job and advance in the industry if you have a certification. There are three professional bodies that will certify diagnostic sonographers. These include the The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), The American Registry of Radiology Technologists, and Cardiovascular Credentialing International. Each of these credentialing bodies recognizes people in different specialty areas. They certify people who have diagnostic medical sonography degrees and who have passed exams. In most cases, sonography professionals must pass additional exams and re-certify themselves every few years.