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Ultrasound/Sonography Tech Programs

Ultrasound technician programs prepare students for careers in diagnostic medical sonography. Graduates use ultrasound technology to work with patients. They work in outpatient and in-patient settings.

Ultrasound technician programs may convey a certificate or an associate degree. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Coursework covers topics such as biology, anatomy, and applied sciences. Learners complete a clinical experience in a medical setting.

Read on for information about ultrasound tech programs, including costs and salary potential.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Ultrasound Technician Programs

true Q. What's the difference between sonography and ultrasound tech?

These titles are interchangeable. Both sonographers and ultrasound technicians use ultrasound technology to diagnose or track medical conditions.

true Q. How long does it take to become an ultrasound technician?

Learners can earn an associate degree in two years. Students can explore accelerated ultrasound technician programs to graduate sooner.

true Q. What degree do you need to become an ultrasound tech?

Ultrasound technicians need a degree or certificate in ultrasound technology, sonography, or vascular technology. Most schools offer these programs as associate degrees.

Why Get an Ultrasound Technician Degree?

Students who earn a sonography degree online or on campus can pursue a career in a growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects medical sonographer and technician jobs to grow 14% from 2020-2030. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $70,380.

Many schools offer sonography training programs online. Learners can complete coursework from anywhere. However, most programs require onsite clinical experiences.

How Much Does an Ultrasound Technician Degree Cost?

The cost of an ultrasound tech degree varies by school and program. Associate degree-seekers at public institutions spent an average of $3,570 on tuition in 2020. Learners at private institutions spent $14,590.

Students can save money by enrolling in online ultrasound tech programs. Online enrollees do not need to relocate to attend the most affordable school. Most programs allow online students to complete clinical requirements locally.

How Much Do Ultrasound Technicians Make?

Salary varies depending on many factors, including professionals' specialty, employer, and geographic location. Top-earning ultrasound techs make nearly $97,000 annually. Professionals who work at outpatient care centers typically earn more than those at hospitals or physicians' offices.

Most employers prefer to hire sonographers with a degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Many employers also prefer candidates certified in sonography and CPR.

Organizations like the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) offer certification exams. Students can also pursue certification through Cardiovascular Credentialing International or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Courses in an Ultrasound Technician Program

Ultrasound technician programs cover applied sciences, biology, and anatomy. Classes vary depending on students' specialization. See below for common courses in ultrasound technician programs. Keep in mind that course titles and descriptions vary by school.

  • Introduction to Sonography

    Students learn the basic foundations of sonography, ultrasounds, and scanning. Learners explore terminology and anatomical relationships. The course prepares students for learning more in-depth information about sonograms and ultrasounds.
  • ECG for Cardiac Sonographers

    Electrocardiogram (ECG) courses teach learners how to interpret an ECG, which is a simple test that monitors the heart. An ECG can indicate various heart conditions. Enrollees learn how to spot various patterns and features of the ECG and compare them against baseline numbers. The course trains students to read ECG charts in clinical settings.
  • Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation

    This course teaches students about the basic physics of human tissue. Learners study how scanning technology works. Ultrasound technicians must understand sound-tissue interaction. The course explains how pulse-echo principles apply to diagnostic sonography.

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Aspiring ultrasound technicians need a degree or certificate from an accredited program. Many employers prefer candidates with professional certification. These certifications typically require a degree from an accredited program. Candidates must also pass an exam.

Candidates can pursue certification in several specialties. Sonographers can obtain more than one certification to boost their knowledge and job prospects.

Ultrasound technicians perform various duties depending on their specialty. For example, cardiovascular technologists take images of the heart and blood vessels. OB-GYN sonographers use ultrasound technology to monitor a baby and mother's health.

Ultrasound Technician Licensure

Not all states require ultrasound technician licensure. Only technicians who work in New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon need licensure. Typically, earning a license requires an application and exam.

ARDMS offers professional certifications in many areas, including pediatrics. Candidates must pass an exam and fulfill prerequisites. ARDMS offers exams throughout the year at various locations. Applications typically cost a few hundred dollars.

Top Ultrasound Technician Programs

Ferris State University true View School Profile $$ Big Rapids, MI 49% 97%

FSU's College of Health Professions offers an ultrasound technician program comprising 84-86 credits and leading to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS).

The curriculum includes introductory courses in diagnostic medical sonography, sonographic imaging, ultrasound physics, and obstetrics and gynecology imaging. Enrollees also study pathophysiology of abdominal organs, hemodynamics and doppler principles of sonography, and sonographic cross-sectional anatomy.

To graduate, students must not receive a grade lower than C in any required courses. The DMS program requires candidates to complete a five-credit clinical internship experience prior to graduation.

FSU's DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Parker University true View School Profile $$$$ Dallas, TX 80% 81%

The ultrasound technician program at Parker in Dallas, Texas, leads to an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. The 75-credit associate degree in diagnostic sonography accepts only 15 students per year to ensure personalized attention.

Students must complete 27 credits of general education coursework, which makes up the program's pre-professional phase. Learners need a grade of C or higher in all general education classes and a minimum 3.0 GPA before they can apply for the program's professional phase.

Major coursework covers subjects such as intermediate ultrasound physics, principles of vascular technology, sonography of superficial structures, and sonographic sectional anatomy. During their final semester, candidates complete a four-credit clinical experience.

Parker's AAS in diagnostic sonography is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences true View School Profile $$$$ Lancaster, PA 66% 89%

Established in 1893 as a training school for nurses, PA College now offers more than two dozen degrees in the health sciences field, including an ultrasound technician program. The associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography comprises 66 credits. Most students graduate after two years of full-time enrollment (including summer terms).

Preferred applicants possess a high school 3.0 GPA or higher. The program requires applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores, unless two years have elapsed from the time of an applicant's high school graduation.

In addition to general education classes, the diagnostic medical sonography curriculum includes coursework in human anatomy and physiology, abdominal sonography, ultrasound physics, and ethical and legal dimensions in the health sciences. The program also requires degree candidates to complete 12 credits of hands-on clinical training.

The University of Findlay true View School Profile $$$$ Findlay, OH 61% 100%

UF offers an ultrasound technician program that leads to an associate of arts degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also submit ACT or SAT scores and satisfy prerequisite courses.

Students begin the program with one semester of lab and classroom work. The curriculum covers subjects such as anatomy and physiology for health professions, physics and instrumentation, cross-sectional anatomy for sonographers, and healthcare ethics.

After the first semester, enrollees begin the program's clinical education component. They spend 35 weeks (at least 1,400 clock hours) at approved clinical sites in the region where they can apply key classroom concepts in the workplace. Candidates must also complete a capstone course prior to graduating from the program.

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health true View School Profile $$$$ Omaha, NE 63% 100%

NMC's ultrasound technician program requires at least 76 credits for completion. The program leads to an associate of science in multispecialty sonography. Classes cover topics like pathophysiology and pharmacology, applied sectional anatomy, sonographic physics, and high-resolution structures.

Extensive hands-on training and clinical immersion in various clinics and hospitals supplement classroom learning. Most students graduate after 21 months of continuous enrollment. The program qualifies graduates to sit for the abdomen and obstetrics examinations administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.5 GPA and must show completion of prerequisite coursework in areas like lifespan psychology, medical terminology, physics, and algebra.

The multispecialty sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

University of Alaska Anchorage View School Profile $$ Anchorage, AK 30% 82%

UAA offers an ultrasound technician program that leads to an associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography. The program welcomes applications from certified and licensed practitioners with recent experience in direct patient care. Graduates can sit for various credentialing examinations administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The program initially accepts students as pre-major enrollees. At this stage, students complete prerequisite courses including human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and essentials of human disease. Students must pass all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher before they can enroll in classes in the major.

The major includes coursework in abdominal sonography, vascular technology, and sectional anatomy for diagnostic imaging. Students also gain extensive hands-on training through at least 1,680 hours of clinical rotations in hospitals and clinics.

Mount Aloysius College View School Profile $$$$ Cresson, PA 45% 98%

MAC offers an ultrasound technician program through the Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences Department. The program leads to an associate of science in ultrasonography and typically only accepts 15 new students each year. Graduates can sit for various exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The program features 26 general education credits, 47 major credits, and 17 credits of other required coursework. Classes in the major cover topics such as superficial structures and vascular ultrasonography, physics and instrumentation, imaging principles, and cross-sectional anatomy.

The program requires students to participate in clinical rotations during the summer term. Students must take the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam during the summer before their first clinical rotation.

MAC's medical imaging ultrasonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Mercy College of Health Sciences View School Profile $$$ Des Moines, IA 42% 91%

The ultrasound technology program at MCHS in Des Moines, Iowa, comprises 76 credits and leads to an associate of science in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). Full-time students typically earn the degree in five semesters. Applicants must show satisfactory completion of college-level work in classes such as human anatomy, college algebra, and medical terminology. The program requires a minimum 2.5 GPA.

General education classes make up 29 credits and include courses in natural science, statistics, humanities, and servant leadership. Major courses cover topics like human physiology, ultrasound physics, bioethics, and principles of pathophysiology. Students also complete 12 credits of clinical experiences, allowing them to apply classroom learning to the workplace.

The program only accepts 12-16 new students every year. DMS students can opt to pursue one of two tracks: a general program or cardiovascular sonography.

The DMS program at MCHS is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Southeast Technical Institute View School Profile $$ Sioux Falls, SD 45% 88%

Southeast Tech offers an ultrasound technician program consisting of 80 credits and leading to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). The program requires the submission of SAT or ACT scores. Applicants must also meet at least one of the following criteria: a minimum 3.0 high school GPA; a GED score of 550; a minimum 2.5 college GPA (based on a minimum of 16 credits); or satisfactory completion of coursework in math, science, and science (at least a grade of B).

The DMS curriculum includes coursework in cross-sectional anatomy, abdominal sonography, acoustical physics and instrumentation, and superficial and pediatric sonography. Degree candidates also complete a seven-month clinical rotation at an approved medical facility. Most full-time students graduate in 24 months. Learners must pass all related registry examinations to earn the degree.

Southeast Tech's DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred View School Profile $$$ Alfred, NY 56% 96%

Alfred State's ultrasound technician program consists of 64 credits and leads to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). The program requires the completion of prerequisite coursework in algebra, geometry, biology, and physics.

DMS candidates enroll in classes on topics like radiation physics, sonographic procedures, pathophysiology, and sectional anatomy. Clinical education takes place in several area hospitals and includes a 12-week full-time assignment during the summer term. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and a grade of C+ or higher in core science courses to be eligible for graduation.

The DMS program prepares graduates to sit for credentialing exams administered by American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

AdventHealth University View School Profile $$$ Orlando, FL 30% 96%

AHU offers an ultrasound technician program that leads to an associate of science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). The 72-credit program includes 10 credits of prerequisite coursework, 39 major credits, and 11 and 12 credits, respectively, of cognate and general education courses. The program prepares graduates to sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exam.

Students can pursue a general vascular sonography program or concentrate on cardiovascular sonography. All students take courses on topics like sonography physics and instrumentation, fundamentals and protocols in sonography, patient care for the health sciences, and pediatric and fetal echocardiography. The program offers a variety of clinical rotation options with several medical facilities within a 60-mile radius of the campus.

Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA and must submit ACT or SAT scores. AHU's DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Keiser University View School Profile $$$$ Fort Lauderdale, FL 65% 88%

Keiser in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers an ultrasound technician program with two tracks. Students can follow a general curriculum, comprising 81 credits, or pursue a concentration in vascular sonography, consisting of 91 credits. Both tracks lead to an associate of science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS).

Full-time enrollees can complete the program within two years. Regardless of their chosen track, learners complete at least 55 credits of core major courses. Core coursework covers subjects such as abdominal sonography, cross-sectional anatomy, introduction to vascular sonography, and acoustic physics and instrumentation.

The DMS program supplements classroom instruction with lab work and clinical experience. Degree candidates must complete 12 clinical rotation credits prior to graduating.

Keiser's DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Chippewa Valley Technical College View School Profile $ Eau Claire, WI 46% 76%

The ultrasound technician program at Chippewa Valley Technical College comprises 70 credits and leads to an associate in diagnostic medical sonography. Full-time enrollees can complete the program within two years. Applicants with at least two years of academic experience in a closely related field such as nursing or radiography can apply for advanced standing. Advanced standing decreases the amount of time it takes to graduate.

The curriculum includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, sonography physics, vascular imaging, and cross-sectional anatomy. Students also complete a seven-month internship at an approved clinical site. Degree candidates must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Completion of all program requirements qualifies graduates to take the national registry examination administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

William Rainey Harper College View School Profile $ Palatine, IL 33% 54%

Harper College offers an ultrasound technician program that prepares graduates to sit for the abdominal and OB/GYN specialty exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The program comprises 71 credits and leads to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography.

Applicants must attend an in-person information meeting prior to submitting their application. They can choose to attend the information session online. The program also requires applicants to submit a valid pre-admission registered nurse exam score from the National League for Nursing.

The program covers topics like ultrasound physics and instrumentation, healthcare technology and informatics, abdominal and small parts sonography, and legal and ethical issues in healthcare. Candidates also complete a 10-credit clinical experience.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Laramie County Community College View School Profile $ Cheyenne, WY 28% 94%

LCCC's six-semester ultrasound technician program consists of 89.5 credits and leads to an associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). The first three semesters focus on classroom instruction and laboratory hours. In the last three semesters of the program, students complete clinical rotations.

The program covers subjects such as ultrasound physics, anatomy and physiology, abdominal sonography, and cross-sectional anatomy. Students can sit for the national certifying exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography 60 days prior to graduation. Students earn the registered diagnostic medical sonography credential after passing the exam and completing the DMS program.

The program only accepts 10-12 new students each year. Applicants must show completion of prerequisite courses before they can enroll in core major classes.

LCCC's program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Orange Coast College View School Profile $ Costa Mesa, CA 41% 51%

OCC in Costa Mesa, California, offers an ultrasound technician program that prepares graduates to take the registered diagnostic medical sonographer exam. The program leads to an associate of science in diagnostic medical sonography. Students enroll in a prescribed sequence of courses over four full semesters, one summer term, and one winter intersession. The program accepts an average of 24 new students each fall term.

The curriculum includes classes in sectional anatomy for medical imaging, sonographic physics and instrumentation, pathophysiology, and vascular ultrasound. DMS candidates also complete at least 1,600 hours of clinical experience carried out in several area hospitals and medical facilities. Clinical rotations occur concurrently with classroom instruction and laboratory work. Graduates can sit for the registered diagnostic medical sonographer exam administered by American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

OCC's DMS program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

San Jacinto Community College View School Profile $ Pasadena, TX 32% 52%

The 63-credit ultrasound technician program at San Jacinto Community College meets the educational requirements to sit for the certification exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The program leads to an associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography.

Enrollees take courses in radiographic imaging, basic and advanced ultrasound physics, abdominopelvic sonography, and sonographic pathophysiology. In addition to classroom instruction and laboratory sessions, students complete clinical site rotations in various medical facilities within the region.

The program also requires degree candidates to complete a capstone experience prior to graduation. The capstone is a workplace training program that reflects and supports students' academic and career goals.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Montgomery College View School Profile $ Rockville, MD 22% 65%

MC in Rockville, Maryland, offers an ultrasound technician program that prepares graduates to sit for national registry exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Students can enroll in a general sonography program (70 credits) or pursue a concentration in echocardiography (66 credits) or vascular sonography (63 credits).

All students take core courses on topics such as acoustical physics, human anatomy and physiology, sectional anatomy, and concepts of disease. Degree candidates complete onsite practicum experiences throughout their enrollment, giving them hands-on training and supervised patient contact.

MC maintains transfer agreements with several four-year institutions, allowing students to seamlessly transfer to bachelor's programs after earning their associate degree.

MC's program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Howard Community College View School Profile $$ Columbia, MD 22% 57%

The ultrasound technician program at HCC in Columbia, Maryland, prepares students to sit for certification exams administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The program leads to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). Students can pursue a general sonography track or specialize in vascular or cardiac sonography.

The curriculum includes courses in sectional anatomy for imaging professionals, ultrasound physics and instrumentation, technical physical science, and echocardiography. Degree candidates also complete several clinical rotations in area hospitals and medical facilities.

Applicants must show satisfactory completion of prerequisite coursework in areas such as biology, physics, and mathematics. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College View School Profile $ Green Bay, WI 43% 70%

NWTC offers a 71-credit ultrasound technician program that prepares graduates to sit for certification exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The program leads to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography.

Applicants must attend a pre-application information session. The program requires the completion of at least two semesters of high school algebra, biology, physics, and chemistry with a grade of B or better. Applicants with college credits in these subjects must show the completion of at least one semester, also with a grade of B or better.

Major courses cover topics like sonography physics, advanced anatomy and physiology, vascular imaging, and superficial sonography. Students also complete clinical assignments in various hospitals and medical facilities.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Valencia College View School Profile Orlando, FL 44% 76%

Valencia in Orlando, Florida, offers an ultrasound technician program comprising 77 credits. The program leads to an associate of science in diagnostic medical sonography. Full-time enrollees can complete the program in two years.

The program includes coursework in sectional anatomy, neurosonology and superficial structures, sonographic physics, and methods of patient care. Enrollees begin clinical assignments in the spring term of their first year in the program.

Degree candidates must not receive a grade lower than a C to be eligible for graduation. Students who withdraw from a course or who do not meet this minimum grade requirement cannot remain in the program.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Lamar Institute of Technology View School Profile $ Beaumont, TX 30% 72%

LIT offers a 65-credit ultrasound technician program through the Department of Allied Health and Sciences. The program meets the educational requirements for certification exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Applicants must show completion of prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, basic health profession skills, college algebra, and physics for allied health. Courses in the major include subjects such as sonographic sectional anatomy, vascular technology, doppler physics, and techniques of medical sonography.

In addition to classroom instruction and laboratory work, students complete eight-hour clinical rotations three days a week beginning in the spring of their first year of enrollment. Degree candidates must earn at least a grade of C in all required courses to graduate.

LIT's program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Amarillo College View School Profile $ Amarillo, TX 31% 75%

AC offers an ultrasound technician program consisting of 65 credits and requiring full-time enrollment. The program leads to an associate of applied science degree. Graduates can sit for national certification exams administered by the American Registry of Radiology Technologist and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The program includes 15 general education credits, 39 major credits, and 11 credits of related courses and clinical rotations. Classes cover topics like doppler physics, sonography of abdominopelvic pathology, advanced ultrasound and review, and sonography of high-risk obstetrics.

Candidates also complete several clinical rotations and practicum experiences in addition to laboratory work. Students must receive at least a 75% in all classes to remain in the program.

George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville View School Profile $ Hanceville, AL 44% 82%

Wallace State's ultrasound technician program requires 69-72 credits. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit ACT scores. The program leads to an associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) and prepares graduates for national certification exams. Students can pursue a general sonography option (abdomen and obstetrics/gynecology) or specialize in cardiovascular sonography.

All students complete 21 general education credits. General sonography students complete an additional 51 credits of major coursework, while cardiovascular specialists enroll in 48 major credits. Core courses cover topics like sonographic principles and instrumentation, sectional anatomy, abdominal pathology, and echocardiographic technology. Students must receive at least a 75% in all classes to remain in the program.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Ogeechee Technical College View School Profile Statesboro, GA 46% 89%

Ogeechee Tech in Statesboro, Georgia, offers an ultrasound technician program comprising 78 credits. The program leads to an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Graduates can sit for certification exams administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Students enroll in 27 credits of general education classes and 51 credits of required core coursework. Core courses cover topics such as sectional anatomy and normal sonographic appearance, pelvic sonography and first trimester obstetrics, sonographic physics and instrumentation, and vascular sonography.

In addition to laboratory exercises and classroom instruction, the program requires enrollees to complete at least 2,340 contact hours during clinical rotations.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

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