Top Ultrasound Technician Programs 2021

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Ultrasound technicians benefit from above-average earning potential and strong employment projections. Graduates with an associate degree from an ultrasound technician program can qualify for careers in diagnostic medical sonography.

Programs for ultrasound technicians include training in sectional anatomy, ultrasound technology, and diagnostic imaging. Students build foundational knowledge, which they apply during labs, internships, and practicums. By incorporating experiential learning, two-year ultrasound technician programs prepare graduates for the workforce.

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Ultrasound technician jobs feature strong earning potential. According to PayScale, ultrasound technologists earn an average annual salary of $62,410. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $68,750 for diagnostic medical sonographers.

This guide ranks the best programs for ultrasound technicians to help prospective students find the right fit for their career goals. The following sections also explore ultrasound technicians’ job duties, common courses in ultrasound technician programs, and scholarship opportunities.

Top Ultrasound Technician Programs

What Can I Do as an Ultrasound Technician?

Ultrasound technicians operate imaging equipment to diagnose medical conditions, track growth during pregnancy, and identify heart issues. These professionals conduct exams using diagnostic ultrasound machines to take images. Ultrasound techs then review images, identify any abnormalities, and discuss their findings with physicians.

Within the field of diagnostic medical sonography, ultrasound techs can specialize in areas such as echocardiography, pediatric sonography, obstetric and gynecological sonography, and vascular sonography.

Students in ultrasound technician programs gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work as diagnostic medical sonographers. Learners choose a concentration or electives to prepare for specific allied health career paths. An associate degree meets the minimum education requirement for ultrasound technician jobs.

Careers in diagnostic medical sonography pay above-average salaries. According to the BLS, diagnostic medical sonographers earn a median salary of $68,750 per year. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 12% from 2019 to 2029, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations.

Accreditation for an Ultrasound Technician Program



Prospective students researching programs for ultrasound technicians should verify each program’s accreditation status before applying. Ultrasound technicians must attend an accredited program to qualify for scholarships, professional certifications, and positions in the field. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) grants accreditation to ultrasound technician programs.

In addition to selecting an accredited program, ultrasound tech students should choose an accredited school. Accredited colleges and universities meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees. Schools with ultrasound technician programs may hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation is the gold standard for science and research programs, while vocational institutions may hold national accreditation.

Attending an accredited school ensures learners can qualify for federal financial aid. Additionally, many certification programs and ultrasound tech jobs only accept graduates of accredited ultrasound tech programs. Students can verify the accreditation status of any school or program using the U.S. Department of Education’s database.

FAQ


  • What does it take to become an ultrasound technician?

    Ultrasound technicians typically complete a two-year program to earn an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. This degree qualifies graduates for careers as ultrasound technicians.


  • What is the major for an ultrasound technician?

    Ultrasound technicians typically major in diagnostic medical sonography. Programs in the field may offer concentrations in general ultrasound, echocardiography, and vascular sonography.


  • Do you have to be good at math to be an ultrasound tech?

    Applicants for ultrasound technician jobs need a background in math, and many programs for ultrasound technicians require coursework in algebra and the natural sciences.


  • What's the difference between sonography and ultrasound tech?

    Ultrasound technology helps sonographers and ultrasound technicians create images from inside the human body. Ultrasound technicians and sonographers perform the same job duties.


What Are the Requirements for an Ultrasound Technician Program?

Programs for ultrasound technicians feature unique admission requirements. At many schools, applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Programs often require applicants to submit official transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement detailing their reasons for pursuing a career in the field. Ultrasound technician programs generally do not require standardized test scores.

Some schools require admitted students to complete prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA before entering the ultrasound technician program. Learners take classes, complete lab requirements, and often gain hands-on experience during an internship.

Courses in an Ultrasound Technician Program



Ultrasound technician programs train students in sonography, sectional anatomy, and sonographic instrumentation. Students in ultrasound technician programs build the knowledge and skills required for jobs in the field. In addition to classroom learning, degree-seekers complete labs and simulations to develop practical skills.

Diagnostic medical sonography students often specialize their training through courses in cardiovascular sonography, obstetric sonography, and vascular sonography. A specialization prepares students for specific career paths.

This section introduces courses common to ultrasound technician programs. Specific course names and descriptions vary by school.

Introduction to Sonography

This introductory course provides an overview of sonography, including the science behind ultrasounds, techniques for using sonography, and various specializations. Students learn about the development of ultrasound technology, legal and ethical issues in the field, and sonographic terminology. Topics may also include image orientation, instrumentation, and annotation.

The course introduces students to scanning technique, professionalism, and career paths in sonography. This class is often a prerequisite for advanced courses in diagnostic medical imaging programs.

Anatomy and Physiology
This course explores normal and abnormal anatomy. Learners examine the skeletal system, the circulatory system, and the lymphatic system to understand how the human body functions. Students may complete laboratory assignments or simulations to reinforce their learning. They may examine plastic models, complete simulations, and review diagrams to understand the relationship between human systems. This course prepares students for advanced sonography classes.
Sectional Anatomy

This class helps ultrasound technician students understand human anatomy in imaging environments. The course introduces learners to axial plane views of anatomy and other viewpoints, such as the sagittal, oblique, and coronal planes.

Sectional anatomy courses train students to locate and identify normal and abnormal anatomy during scans. This class often includes a lab, during which students observe anatomical scans. The course builds practical, hands-on skills for careers as ultrasound techs.

Sonography Instrumentation
Learners explore the physics behind ultrasonic technologies. Students learn about sonographic tools and the role of Doppler techniques, biologic effects, and detection in sonography. Topics may also include transducer technology, the applications of sonography technologies, and issues with imaging artifacts. For example, students may compare technologies such as 2D imaging and color Doppler to understand how they work. Learners develop a theoretical and practical understanding of sonography equipment.
Obstetrical Sonography

This course introduces students to the sonography techniques for taking obstetrical images. Learners study normal and abnormal anatomy; fetal development through the first, second, and third trimesters; and screening tests that use ultrasound imaging.

Coursework trains learners to identify issues such as ectopic pregnancies, placental problems, and congenital defects. The course prepares students for careers in obstetric sonography. Learners gain practical training in evaluating sonographic images and conducting anatomy scans.

Professional Organizations for Ultrasound Technician Majors



Joining a professional association can help ultrasound technicians expand their network and gain skills necessary for career advancement. Many of these organizations host annual meetings and events that feature networking opportunities. Some organizations also grant awards and scholarships. Participating with professional organizations can help students prepare for the job market and earn credentials to qualify for ultrasound technician jobs.


  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography Founded in 1970, SDMS represents diagnostic medical sonographers and students in the field. Member benefits include online continuing education opportunities, access to the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and salary data for the profession. The society's career center helps students transition into the workforce.

  • American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography ARDMS offers several professional certifications for ultrasound technicians, including the registered diagnostic medical sonographer and the registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer credentials. Many employers only hire ARDMS-certified job candidates. In addition to credentialing ultrasound technicians, ARDMS offers a verification directory of certified professionals and career information for sonographers.

  • Society for Vascular Ultrasound SVU advocates for ultrasound technicians who specialize in vascular disease. The society offers continuing medical education programs to help ultrasound technicians develop their skills. Members can access webinars, conferences, and educational resources. SVU also advocates for the profession and publishes a peer-reviewed journal on vascular technology.

  • American Society of Echocardiography ASE represents sonographers and other medical professionals who specialize in cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. Founded in 1975, the society offers programs and services that help members build professional knowledge. For example, members receive discounts on live educational courses. ASE also maintains a learning hub with webcasts, webinars, and articles.

Scholarships for Ultrasound Technician Students

Ultrasound technician students can qualify for a variety of scholarships. Many professional organizations award scholarships to support sonography students. Applicants must meet each scholarship program’s requirements, which often include enrollment in a CAAHEP-accredited sonography program. In addition to the following awards, students can research opportunities based on their school, concentration area, or state.

SDMS Foundation Sonography Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: SDMS offers this scholarship to sonography students pursuing training in diagnostic medical sonography or cardiovascular technology. Applicants must attend a CAAHEP-accredited program and hold SDMS membership. Applicants must submit essay responses and their FAFSA form.
Amount: $2,500

Alan D. Waggoner Sonographer Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Society of Echocardiography grants this scholarship to sonography students attending CAAHEP-accredited programs. Applicants should demonstrate leadership skills and an interest in echocardiography. Program directors nominate candidates, who then submit scholarship applications. Recipients must hold membership with the society.
Amount: $1,000

Anne Jones Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Society for Vascular Ultrasound awards this scholarship to students enrolled in CAAHEP-accredited vascular ultrasound programs. Applicants must be pursuing a concentration in vascular or noninvasive vascular studies. Candidates need a minimum 3.5 GPA and student membership with the society. In addition to the grand-prize scholarship, the committee awards three $1,000 scholarships.
Amount: $2,500

Top Ultrasound Technician Programs 2021



  1. Ferris State University
    Location

    Big Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  2. Parker University
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  3. Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
    Location

    Lancaster, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  4. The University of Findlay
    Location

    Findlay, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  5. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  6. University of Alaska Anchorage
    Location

    Anchorage, AK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  7. Mount Aloysius College
    Location

    Cresson, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  8. Mercy College of Health Sciences
    Location

    Des Moines, IA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  9. Southeast Technical Institute
    Location

    Sioux Falls, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

  10. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred
    Location

    Alfred, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    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.

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