Best Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs

Updated January 24, 2023

A ranking of the best associate's in medical sonography degrees. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Most people become familiar with the work of ultrasound technicians (or, more formally, medical sonographers) when they or their loved ones are expecting a baby. It’s an exciting and joyous part of a family’s life.

But you may not know about the many other ways medical sonographers play a vital role in the health care team. Sonograms are used to diagnose a host of medical problems from kidney stones to heart conditions. And sonographers are a vital part of care in specialized fields that range from obstetrics to neurology to oncology.

Medical sonography isn’t just an important part of health care. It’s also a growing career field. With a current unemployment rate of only 1.9 percent, sonographers are in demand now. They’re well paid, with a median salary of $67,530. What’s more, the profession is expected to grow, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a 26 percent increase in jobs from now until 2024.

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If you’re just getting started in sonography, the first step is to obtain an associate’s degree from a community college program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs. (Check out our Best Online Community College ranking!) An accredited degree, including both classroom study and extensive practical experience, is needed to sit for the licensing exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Your medical sonography certification can also lead to a bachelor’s degree in radiation science technology and related medical imaging fields. With this degree, you’ll be qualified to move into a supervisory role in the hospital, or undertake further graduate study in your field that leads to a teaching position.

What are the best programs for an associate’s degree in medical sonography?

We’ve ranked the 20 best programs in medical sonography based on a number of practical metrics. Because associate’s degree programs are most often offered by community colleges and specialized medical training programs, the national reputation of the school may matter less than how well they prepare their students for a career in the field.

In putting together this list, we paid particular attention to attrition levels, the percentage of students who pass their board exams, and placement in work after graduation.

We also focused on programs that offer a variety of specializations, including cardiac, vascular, and general medical sonography. All of our ranked programs are accredited by CAAHEP, ensuring they meet the highest standards of academic quality and up-to-date clinical training.


See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Bellevue College

    Bellevue, WA


    Our top-ranked program is offered by Washington’s Bellevue College. Bellevue’s associate’s degree program provides educational and clinical experience that prepares students to successfully gain employment and national certification as a diagnostic medical sonographer. The Associate of Arts degree in Diagnostic Ultrasound provides training in ultrasound patient services and related diagnostic techniques, with options in the following specialty tracks: General (Abdomen & OB/GYN), Vascular Technology, and Echocardiography. Of the programs we evaluated, Bellevue stands out due to its high graduation rate as well as a 100% certification and job placement rate.


    Regardless of which specialty you choose, at the end of the two year program consisting of 112 quarter credits, you will have gained the following skills and abilities:

    • Function as an entry-level sonographer, acquiring diagnostic ultrasound images of the patient’s anatomy to aid the physician in the diagnosis of various pathological conditions
    • Act in the best interests of the patient and the institution through the prudent use of safety measures, techniques and equipment to prevent harm to patient, facility or oneself
    • Act within the Ultrasonography Scope of Practice as outlined by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
    • Exercise independent judgment and discretion in the technical performance of medical imaging procedures
    • Assimilate pertinent clinical information, ultrasound findings and knowledge of normal and abnormal conditions into a cohesive and complete ultrasound examination for interpreting physicians
    • Communicate effectively with patients, family members, hospital staff, and the general public, and demonstrate professionalism in all actions and communications

    The sonography program operates with a selective admissions program that includes procedures and requirements that differ from other Bellevue degrees. Check the program website carefully for full details on what you’ll need to apply.


    In addition to the associate’s degree programs, Bellevue also offers an optional Breast Ultrasound certificate, for students wishing to expand their job skills to include breast ultrasound scanning. Satisfactory completion of the program courses partially fulfills the eligibility requirements for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography certification examination in breast ultrasound. Bellevue’s programs in sonography have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs since 1987. Bellevue College is also regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  2. Baptist College of Health Sciences

    Memphis, TN


    Diagnostic medical sonography education has been offered by the Baptist Memorial Health Care system in Memphis since 1986. Now, the Baptist College of Health Sciences offers associate’s and bachelor of health science degrees with a major in diagnostic medical sonography. The degree plan requires students to successfully complete courses that include a general education curriculum, sonography courses, and clinical practicum courses.


    Within the degree program, you can choose to major in either general or vascular sonography. Topics included in your sonography courses and clinical practicum experiences will include:

    • Abdominal sonography
    • General sonography
    • Obstetrical and gynecological sonography
    • Neurosonology
    • Vascular sonography
    • Adult echocardiography
    • Physical principles of ultrasound and instrumentation

    Over the course of the program, you’ll receive in-class instruction, online instruction, laboratory experience, and clinical practicum experience. The sonography and clinical practicum courses encompass six consecutive trimesters and require the student to participate in courses up to 40 hours per week. Clinical practicum experience is obtained in a variety of health care facilities, including many Baptist Memorial Health Care locations.


    Upon successful completion of the sonography program, graduates are eligible to sit for examinations given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). After passing the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination and other specialty examinations, graduates can earn one of the following credentials: Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), and Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS). The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in both the general and vascular concentrations. Baptist College of Health Sciences is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  3. Lamar Institute of Technology

    Beaumont, TX


    Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar Institute of Technology is part of the state university system of Texas whose programs are focused on technical and career training. As part of its extensive degree options in the healthcare field, LIT offers an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography that prepares health professionals to work in a medical office, clinic or hospital as medical sonographers. An associate’s degree in diagnostic cardiac sonography is also available for students who hope to begin a career as an echocardiography specialist.


    While some of the coursework for each program is different, the overall degree structures are similar. The associate’s degree in general medical sonography requires a total of 65 credit hours, with 50 lecture hours and 90 lab hours. In this program, you’ll learn to provide patient services using medical ultrasound under the supervision of a physician responsible for the use and interpretation of ultrasound procedures. The cardiac sonography degree also requires 65 credit hours, including 49 lecture hours and 90 lab hours. You’ll learn how to perform cardiovascular examinations to produce a picture of the heart and blood vessels, including 2D and 3D Echo, M-mode and color flow Doppler, as well as Transesophageal and Stress Studies. The echocardiographer may work in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices.


    Due to clinical placement requirements, a maximum of 12 students in the medical and 10 in the cardiac programs are accepted each year. Upon completion of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program and the Advanced Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, students will be eligible to take examinations for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) certification in the specialty area of Abdomen and Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN). Students in the cardiac program may take the examination to become certified as echocardiographers. Lamar Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the sonography programs are accredited by CAAHEP.

  4. Grady Health System

    Atlanta, GA


    Based at one of the busiest and largest hospitals in the Southeast, the School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography at Grady Health System in Atlanta is a full-time, daytime program lasting 18 months and preparing its graduates for a rewarding career in diagnostic medical sonography in the areas of Abdomen and OB/GYN. The school awards a certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, but the program has articulation agreements with both Georgia State University’s Perimeter College and Atlanta Metropolitan State College, which means graduates will be awarded an Associate of Science degree in Radiologic Technology by the respective college upon successful completion of college prerequisites and the radiologic technology component at Grady Health System.


    The program introduces students to perinatal, abdominal and pediatric imaging through coursework as well as clinical experiences at several Atlanta, GA, healthcare facilities. Clinical training prepares students to work with a team under the instruction of a perinatologist or radiologist, and also helps develop communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Graduates of the program can seek certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.


    Classes are limited in size, and admission to this program is competitive and selective. The number of students accepted depends on the number of available clinical sites and job outlook in the area. Currently, a maximum of 12 students are accepted annually, and the graduation rate for the past 5 years is 95 percent. The sonography program is accredited by CAAHEP, and associate’s degrees at Georgia State University and Atlanta Metropolitan are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  5. College of DuPage

    Glen Ellyn, IL


    Located in the suburbs of Chicago, the College of DuPage is a public two-year college and the second-largest undergraduate institution in the state of Illinois. As part of their educational programs in the health sciences, DuPage offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in sonography in addition to an undergraduate certificate. This 24-month program includes all of the coursework and clinical hours currently offered in both the general and vascular certificate programs, preparing students for either specialty.


    Graduates of the program will be prepared to meet certification requirements, deliver compassionate patient care, and work as integral members of the health care team with competence and confidence. Over the course of 62.5 credit hours of academic work as well as clinical experience, you’ll learn how to obtain medical histories, perform diagnostic procedures and produce diagnostic images, analyze technical information, summarize ultrasound findings to physicians for medical diagnosis, and collaborate with physicians and other members of the health care team to ensure the best possible patient care. Graduates of the program may be employed in hospitals, outpatient clinics and in private doctor’s offices. There are also opportunities for technologists to become commercial application specialists for medical equipment companies, educators and hospital administrators.


    The sonography program is located in the new Health and Science Center, which opened in May 2009. This three-story, 188,000-square-foot building contains a combination of laboratory, classroom, office and instructional space for most of the health sciences programs as well as a number of science programs. The sonography lab includes eight private scanning stations with view boxes to review films. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  6. Montgomery College

    Rockville, MD


    Maryland’s Montgomery College is a public community college serving the northern suburbs of Washington, DC, from three campuses. The associate of applied science program in diagnostic medical sonography at Montgomery offers students the opportunity to specialize in three fields: general sonography, vascular sonography, and cardiac echocardiography. The total number of credit hours required for the degree ranges from 63 to 70 depending on which track you choose, but in each case the degree takes two years of full-time study and clinical work to complete. You’ll learn how to perform ultrasound examinations, provide patient care, and record anatomical, pathological, and physiological data for interpretation by a physician.


    Through your coursework and supervised practical experience, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to work as a sonographer in hospitals, offices, and other health care settings. As the program website explains, students are prepared to achieve the following learning goals:

    • Obtain, review, and integrate pertinent patient history and supporting clinical data to facilitate optimum diagnostic results
    • Perform appropriate procedures and record anatomical, pathological, and/or physiological data for interpretation by a physician
    • Record, analyze, and process diagnostic data and other pertinent observations made during the procedure for presentation to the interpreting physician
    • Exercise discretion and judgment in the performance of sonographic and other diagnostic services
    • Demonstrate appropriate communication skills with patients and colleagues
    • Act in a professional and ethical manner
    • Provide patient education related to medical ultrasound and other diagnostic vascular techniques, and promote principles of good health

    The program is designed as a set sequence, and each of the diagnostic medical sonography courses builds on materials offered in previous courses. So it’s meant for students who are able to study full-time and complete the course sequence in its intended order.


    While Montgomery College is an open-admission institution as a whole, the sonography program operates with special selective admission requirements. Students who are already enrolled at the college and plan to major in diagnostic medical sonography may take preparatory courses and courses that fulfill General Education requirements during the waiting period before admission to the program. Upon completion of the program, graduates will receive an AAS and be eligible to apply to take the national registry exam, administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, in one or more of the following specialties: abdominal sonography, breast sonography, obstetrics/gynecology sonography, adult echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography, or vascular sonography. The sonography program is accredited by CAAHEP, and Montgomery College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

  7. Foothill College

    Los Altos Hills, CA


    Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the diagnostic medical sonography program of Foothill College is designed to integrate classroom, laboratory, and clinical learning, with emphasis on the clinical aspects of the field. As a principal community resource, Foothill College strives to serve the needs of the community by providing this program as well as continuing education to meet the needs of healthcare providers in the area as well as the career goals of its students. The DMS program is an 18 month sequence that begins in September and lasts a total of six quarters. Because all courses are completed in sequence and the preceptorship (clinical) courses require thirty-two hours per week, this program requires full-time study. Classroom and laboratory instruction is required in addition to the preceptorship assignment.


    In this program, you’ll learn how to perform patient assessments and evaluations using effective communication and analytical skills. Students gain the knowledge and skills needed to acquire and analyze data obtained using ultrasound, provide preliminary reports of findings to the physician, and use independent judgment and systematic problem solving methods to produce high quality diagnostic information and optimize patient care and safety. As the program website explains, the learning goals for the degree include:

    • To develop the student’s communication and critical thinking skills in order to function as a competent and diligent member of the health care team
    • To develop technical skills to provide for comprehensive quality care to individuals from a diverse socioeconomic, educational, and or cultural background
    • To graduate health care professionals who are respectful of others as well as practice the principles of ethics including autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, veracity, justice, fidelity, and recognize his/her responsibilities under the law
    • To develop the student’s awareness and commitment toward understanding and implementing the Code of Conduct & Code of Ethics as described by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
    • To convey the importance of striving for continued improvement through education and active participation in this profession

    In this program, students can either opt for a certificate in diagnostic medical ultrasound or an associate of science degree with a few extra classes or transfer credits in general education courses.


    This program is open to students who are seeking a new career in the field, to practicing diagnostic medical sonographers who need formalized education to pass the ARDMS examinations, and to those in recognized American Medical Association Allied Health occupations who wish to specialize in diagnostic medical sonography. If you work in a recognized health profession, this program provides the opportunity to apply your clinical experience to the program requirements and offers a new and challenging career. The program is accredited by CAAHEP, and will prepare you for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) exams. Foothill College is a two-year school that is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and has been recognized as one of California’s best community colleges.

  8. Mercy College of Health Sciences

    Des Moines, IA


    Since its founding by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy in 1899, Mercy College of Health Sciences has been in the business of preparing leaders for the healthcare community. While much has changed in healthcare since then, its focus and core values have remained constant: knowledge, reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence. Mercy College’s Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ASDMS) major includes two concentrations, leading to either general licensure or cardiovascular licensure. In both tracks, you’ll experience classroom instruction, practice in skills lab and significant clinical experience in a variety of health care settings. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills to be a technically-skilled and caring professions, while fostering your critical thinking and problem solving abilities to see each patient as an individual with unique health care needs.


    The five-semester associate degree program includes a total of 76 credit hours of classroom instruction (including required prerequisites), practice in skills lab, and clinical experience in a variety of health care settings. Each year, the program accepts between 12-16 DMS students beginning each fall semester in the general and cardiovascular tracks. In both concentrations, students must be prepared to meet the common standards of a sonographer, including:

    • Interact compassionately and effectively with patients of varying health conditions
    • Communicate effectively with the patient and the health care team;
    • Analyze technical information and make critical adjustments to obtain the most useful images necessary for diagnosis and treatment

    The college has a working relationship with a number of healthcare institutions including Mercy Medical Center (MMC) Des Moines, Mercy Health Network (MHN), and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). These partnerships help Mercy College to stay at the forefront of the changing landscape in healthcare, ultimately helping students to be better prepared on their first day of professional practice.


    The application process has two stages. Following general admission to the College, you will be instructed on how to begin the separate sonography admissions process. All applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and achieve a “C” or higher in the following college-level courses:

    • Human Anatomy (with lab)
    • English Composition I
    • College Algebra
    • Medical Terminology
    • College Physics (with lab)

    These required prerequisites may be in progress while completing the program admissions process. Once you successfully complete your concentration, or while working on your associate’s degree, you may also choose to dual enroll in either the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration or Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree programs. The sonography programs at Mercy College are accredited by CAAHEP, and the College is also regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  9. Albany State University

    Albany, GA


    At the direction of the state government of Georgia, Albany State University was recently consolidated with Darton State College, another public institution in the area. As a result, the extensive career programs in the health sciences that were based at Darton State for the past 50 years have transitioned into the Darton College of Health Sciences at Albany State. This new, combined institution is poised to become one of the leading providers of health professions education in the southeast. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at Albany State’s Darton College of Health Sciences is designed to graduate competent, capable and adaptable entry-level general sonographers who have the skill, professionalism, and compassion to deliver the highest quality of patient care.


    This associate of applied science program is very selective, with 14 students admitted each year. A total of 73 credit hours are required for the degree, of which 14 are prerequisites, 17 are general education requirements that can be completed prior to or during the program, and 43 are courses and clinical placements in the sonography program itself. You’ll learn how to use computer technology along with a transducer to produce quality images for the assessment and diagnosis of various medical conditions. After graduating and passing their licensing exams, students have found jobs in a number of settings, including hospitals, physician offices, mobile companies, temporary traveling agencies, veterinary offices, educational facilities and as application specialists for companies that manufacture ultrasound equipment.


    Applicants for admission are required to participate in a minimum of 30 observational hours in a diagnostic medical sonography setting and submit a recommendation from the sonographer they observed. DMS students are eligible to sit for the Sonographic Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) Exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) after successfully completing the first-semester Ultrasound Physics course. Students may sit for specialty examinations (Abdomen & Ob/Gyn) after passing the SPI Exam and within 60 days of graduation. Once you have passed both the physics portion and one specialty exam, you will become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). Albany State College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the sonography program is accredited by CAAHEP.

  10. Baker College

    Flint, MI


    With over 23,000 students in more than 100 programs, Baker College is the largest independent, non-profit college in Michigan. Focused on preparing students for meaningful employment, Baker boasts one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country. As a student in Baker’s associate of applied science program in diagnostic medical sonography associate degree program, you will prepare for your own future career, as you learn how to use ultrasound equipment to provide the images doctors need to diagnose medical conditions. Through classroom work, hands-on lab training, and real-world clinical experience, you gain the medical knowledge, technical skills, and critical thinking skills you need to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).


    In total, the program consists of 111 quarter credits – equivalent to 74 semester credit hours. Through academic coursework and clinical training, students gain the knowledge and skills they need to:

    • Apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as pathophysiology, to accurately demonstrate anatomical structures on a sonogram or digital medium
    • Apply principles of sonographic physics to assess anatomical structures
    • Recognize sonography’s role in the healthcare environment
    • Provide patient care and comfort

    You’ll also develop the strong communication, critical thinking, and technical skills needed to get your first entry-level job and become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.


    Like other sonography programs, enrollment is limited and selective due to the number of clinical placement sites available. A number of prerequisite courses are required for admission, and applicants should contact the sonography program for more details on the availability of transfer credit. While prerequisite coursework can be competed on a part-time basis, the professional sonography portion of the degree requires full-time availability for clinical placements. Graduates will be eligible to take the registry certification following acceptance of their application by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the sonography program is accredited by CAAHEP

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