A Safer Way To See What Is Going On Inside The Body - Sonography Degree

Thanks to sonography, many parents have been able to view images of their baby while it is still in the mother’s womb. However, there is more to this field than photos of fetuses or scanning for pregnancy complications. The images taken by sonographers can also play a vital role in the diagnosis of people suffering from life threatening illnesses or diseases. It is a career path where your actions can not only make it easier for other health care professionals to do their jobs, but can also save the lives of patients.

Sonography Degree Information

Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

The Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a degree that is aimed at students who already have an associate degree or higher in the field of health care, treatment or related field. Earning this type of degree takes about two years and it features courses in the foundations of sonography, fundamentals of sonography lab, sectional anatomy for diagnostic imaging and more.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate’s Degree

Diagnostic medical sonography degrees are also available at associate’s level that provide you with foundational general education courses as well as sonography focussed courses. This type of degree takes two years to complete and typically requires externship at a medical facility to build up your clinical experience. Courses tend to range from ultrasound physics, instrumentation and other specialized courses to classes that cover vascular scanning, reproductive system scanning and obstetrical scanning.

Bachelor of Science in Medical Sonography

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Medical Sonography degree can take up to four years and can provide students with a general education background along with practical and didactic education in sonography. The curriculum consists of courses such as health care ethics, research design in health care, ultrasound cross sectional anatomy, and more.

Sonography Degree FAQs

Can I Earn A Sonography Degree Online?

Because sonography is such a hands-on occupation that requires the use of specialized equipment, it is not possible to obtain a degree using only online courses if you are new to the field. However, those who are already practicing sonographers can earn degrees, such as the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Bachelor Degree, in an online format. Some hybrid programs also exist where core courses are conducted on-campus while others can be conducted fully on-line.

Are There Any Licensure or Certification Requirements For This Field?

Some states require sonographers to have licensure before they can be employed and most employers also require you to have some type of sonography certification. In most cases certification for basic life support or CPR are also a requirement for employment in this field. Certification can be pursued via the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Completing the coursework that is part of an accredited degree program typically qualifies you to sit for the exams that are administered by ARDMS. Continued education also tends to be a requirement to keep your registration current as the field continues to advance.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate For Studying Sonography?

One of the most important qualities you can have as a sonographer is to be very detail oriented. Since people’s lives can actually depend on the findings you make with sonography, it really is a career path where it pays off to be very meticulous. It is also something that will appeal to people who enjoy constantly solving problems and being faced with new challenges every day. In addition, sonography is something that will appeal to anyone who enjoys working with people and have a genuine desire to help others. Being a good communicator is definitely a must in this field and you must also enjoy challenges. Being fit is also an advantage as you may have to spend large portions of your day standing on your feet when employed as a sonographer. In addition, it will be beneficial if you had courses in math, physics, anatomy and physiology during high school. Finally, having good technical skills is vital as you’ll be operating complex machinery as part of your job.

What Type of Responsibilities Does Sonographers Typically Have?

When employed as a diagnostic medical sonographer you will typically work closely with surgeons or physicians while dealing with patients. The primary duty of a sonographer is to create images of organs or tissues in the patient’s body to determine the presence of illness or disease. The primary tool used by sonographers is a device called an ultrasound transducer, which is used to emit pulses of sound that are then converted to images by the ultrasound machine. The images that you create as a sonographer can then be used for diagnosis by physicians. If employed as a vascular sonographer, your primary duties will revolve around the creation of images of blood vessels as well as collecting the type of data needed by physicians for diagnosing disorders related to blood flow. On the other hand, cardiac sonographers make use of ultrasound equipment to create echocardiagrams to examine the heart’s chambers. No matter which area of sonography you choose to specialize in, your general duties might include preparing patients for the procedure, preparing your equipment, operating specialized equipment, analyzing your findings before presenting a summary to physicians and keeping track of patient’s records.

Where Might I Find Employment With A Sonography Degree?

Sonographers typically find employment at hospitals as well as private offices or clinics. Employment opportunities also exist outside of direct health-care settings. For example, sonographers sometimes work for the companies that specialize in the manufacture of ultrasound machines and assist with the marketing or demonstration of the machines. Working as a sonographer tends to be a full time career and often you are required to work evenings, weekends and even overnight since facilities where sonography is used tend to always be open.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn With This Type of Degree?

According to information published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers earned a median annual wage of $69,650 in 2016. However, the highest 10 percent of earners in this occupation have salaries exceeding $99,100 per year, while the lowest 10 percent brings in less than $48,660. The industries paying the highest average salaries for this occupation are medical and diagnostic laboratories, followed by offices of physicians. Of course, this figures are just averages and your potential salary will also depend on other factors, such as your place of employment, geographical location and the amount of experience that you have.

What Are The Other Advantages of Obtaining A Degree In This Field?

Obtaining your degree in sonography and making it your career can be very satisfying as the work you do can help to save the lives of other people. It is also the type of degree that can offer you a lot more flexibility than you might think as a sonography degree doesn’t just prepare you to work at a hospital. Even if do choose to work at a hospital your daily duties will be very varied, which prevents the work from becoming boring. In addition, an expected growth of 26 percent until 2024 is projected for the employment of diagnostic medical sonographers, which is must faster than the average of other types of occupations. Finally, sonography is a relatively safe career choice as you tend to work in sanitary environments and the equipment is a lot safer than working with radiographic technology.

Related Sections

More Schools and Programs