Can you Complete a Sonography Degree Online?
Medical sonographers perform ultrasounds in hospitals and other clinical settings. Ultrasound machines use sound waves to provide medical professionals a look inside of patients without the need for surgery. For example, ultrasounds play a significant role in women's health. They reveal breast cancer in its early stages and display fetal development without harm to the mother or child.
Professionals in the medical sonography field need more than technical expertise. Traits that lend themselves to the profession include the interpersonal skills necessary to work with patients directly. The career also requires physical stamina, as day-to-day activities involve standing for long periods. Workers should also possess a passion for professional development, as ultrasound technology evolves continuously.
The best medical sonography certificates and associate in medical sonography programs provide the training that aspiring sonographers need to attain a fulfilling position.
Popular Questions About Medical Sonography Schools
What is medical sonography?
Medical sonography reveals the inside of a patient's body without the need for surgery. Doctors use ultrasound results to diagnose patients and evaluate fetal development.
Can I study medical sonography online?
Yes. Hybrid degrees in medical sonography allow students to learn partially online while gaining hands-on ultrasound experience in classroom and clinical settings.
Do I need a certification or license to be a medical sonographer?
Yes. Medical sonographers need a certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The certification process involves passing one or more exams.
How long does it take to complete a medical sonography program?
An associate degree takes approximately two years to complete. Certificate programs require fewer courses, and full-time students graduate in just 12 months.
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Career and Salary Outlook for Medical Sonographers
Typical job responsibilities for medical sonographers include maintaining and using ultrasound equipment, taking the clearest images, and speaking with patients and family members. Sonographers in all specializations perform these daily tasks. They also collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers to diagnose conditions and develop treatment plans.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the medical sonography profession will grow 14% between 2020-2030. This projection exceeds the median projected growth rate for all U.S. careers.
Achieving career advancement and earning a higher salary depends on years of professional experience, certifications, and additional education. Sonographers who earn a bachelor's degree make more than their peers without a bachelor's. Professionals who want to return to school as a professor need a master's or doctorate in sonography or another healthcare-related topic.
|Career||Lowest 10%||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10%|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||Less than $53,790||$75,920||More than $105,340|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Schools that offer an associate in medical sonography or a medical sonography certificate program should hold regional accreditation. Regional accreditation agencies use U.S. Department of Education guidelines to evaluate colleges and universities' academic programs and learning outcomes. Schools without this essential accreditation do not provide learners with the tools required for career success.
Some of the best medical sonography certificates have programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). CAAHEP certification signifies that a certificate or degree offers learners the best educational experience.
Courses in a Medical Sonography Program
Medical sonography certificate programs and associate in medical sonography degrees emphasize similar major coursework. These courses introduce students to different body systems and how sonographers take accurate images of each. Students demonstrate their skills during hands-on labs and clinical rotations in many hospital settings.
Despite featuring similar core courses, associate degrees and certificates differ in one regard. An associate degree takes longer to earn because graduation requirements include some general education courses, such as physics and psychology. The courses below act as a sample curriculum for either program type.
Medical terminology introduces students to typical terms that medical sonographers use on a daily basis. Learning outcomes include identifying the meaning behind prefixes, spelling medical terms correctly, and applying new vocabulary to different situations. Some of the best medical sonography certificates and degrees offer this course online.
Medical sonographers work with patients directly. Professionals must possess honed communication skills and understand patients' rights. Other course topics include performing emergency medical care, such as giving CPR. Patient care prepares degree- and certificate-seekers for their first clinical rotation.
Medical sonography plays a crucial role in women's health. Ultrasound results detect cancers and provide physicians with essential details about fetal development. Students analyze female reproductive systems, and the laboratory tests that accompany ultrasound results. OB/GYN sonography, like other upper-division courses, helps students explore their interests and choose a specialization.
Typical graduation requirements for medical sonography certificate programs and associate in medical sonography programs include multiple clinical education rotations. These rotations occur at local healthcare facilities and provide learners with hundreds of hours of hands-on experience. Each rotation focuses on a single type of medical sonography, such as abdominal or cardiovascular.
The best associate in medical sonography programs require a review seminar or capstone course in the final semester. This course asks students to synthesize new knowledge and skills while demonstrating mastery. Coursework also helps learners prepare for the ARDMS exam, a test all aspiring medical sonographers must pass.
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