With several options to choose from, which ultrasound degree is best? Here's a look at what each level offers.
An associate's degree in diagnostic medical sonography can open the door to entry-level positions in the field. Most programs last between 18 and 24 months.
In addition to learning about equipment, ultrasound technician students can expect to receive a heavy dose of patient care education. Since sonographers interact closely with people all day, they need a strong grasp on how to interact with a diverse group of patients.
Mastering legal, ethical and regulatory topics will also be necessary.
Most ultrasound technicians hold an associate's degree, but if you're looking to advance your education earning a bachelor's degree in diagnostic medical sonography can offer great rewards.
The additional schooling will allow you to strengthen your problem-solving skills and get involved with research and projects. Some ultrasound technicians with BS degrees go on to pursue careers in medicine.
If a bachelor's degree sounds like a logical step on your way to an ultrasound career, take note of the two options most schools offer.
Degree completion: These programs are specifically designed for sonographers who are part of a professional registry, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or those who have previous college credit. Most programs will also require that you are currently employed in the field.
If you haven't taken certain general education courses, such as college algebra, social sciences and English composition, you'll be required to complete these courses during ultrasound technician school. The professional courses will typically include:
- Healthcare systems
- Healthcare management
- Fetal echo, neonatal and pediatric sonography
- Musculoskeletal sonography
- Breast sonography
You'll spend much of your time in laboratory settings and most schools also require an externship at a local medical facility or lab.
If you already have your associate's degree in sonography, there are bachelor's degree completion options that allow you to specialize in areas like vascular sonography. Your time will be devoted to learning the intricacies of this specific track.