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What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) is a branch of diagnostic medical imaging utilizing non-ionizing ultrasound to produce 3D and 2D body images. In other words, a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer will leverage high-tech instrumentation to create images from inside the human body (heart, blood vessels, breast, abdomen, baby in utero) and interpret images to help physicians make a medical diagnosis.
Often referred to as Ultrasound Technicians, a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer will work directly with patients and help solve problems with an attending physician. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography profession fuses compassion, technology, science, and medicine into a fulfilling vocation.
Top Sonography Degrees
The degree options for a sonographer include an array of undergraduate programs including distance learning options. Online degree programs provide students with a remote option to access accredited curricula with greater flexibility and independence that may be attractive to certain students. Program options include a professional certificate, associate degree, and bachelor degree in the field of study.
In an effort to help you deftly navigate your options with greater efficiency, we have summarized each program below. As you read each program type, keep your priority list and career objectives front and center. To learn more about establishing a personal priority list, take the time to read our comprehensive college admission guide today.
Online Certificate Programs in Sonography
Classroom-based programs and online certificates in sonography can take full-time students 1-2 year to complete. The length of time to complete the program will fluctuate as a function of the school’s requirements plus your course load. Students in a DMS program will take a focused clustering of science-based classes that may include: obstetrics, anatomy, physiology, biology, medical terminology, chemistry, vascular studies, and essentials of a clinical practice.
Most schools provide students with a defined externship and clinical rotations to provide exposure to the sonography field. It is important to understand that sonographer certificates will require a degree and/or substantive work experience before admissions into the program. Request information from schools listed to below to learn more about their specific requirements for certificate programs.
Online Associate Degree in Sonography
An online associate degree in sonography is conferred as an Associate of Science (AS). Associate degrees are designed to be two-year programs of full time matriculation. Students earning an Associate of Science degree in sonography will be exposed to a comprehensive curriculum to help prepare them for a career in the field along with clinical rotations and labs. Core classes may include:
- Medical Assisting
- Ultrasound Imaging
- Wave Imaging
- Abdominal Imaging
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Clinical Scanning
Online Bachelor Degree in Sonography
On-site or online degrees in sonography are conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS). Bachelor degrees are four-year programs for full-time students while part-time students will take longer to complete the program. A bachelor’s degree is designed for sonographers with work experience, previous college credits, or professional in the field on a professional registry such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
As the most popular degree type available, the bachelor degree program melds liberal arts classes such as communications, philosophy, history, math, English, and psychology help students think differently about the world around them. Classes in the core of the degree program will typically include: anatomy, scanning basics, instrumentation, medical terminology, carotid scanning, venous scanning, arterial scanning, upper extremity scanning, abdominal doppler, color flow scanning, obstetrical imaging, gynecological imaging, and medical assisting. In addition to lab time, students will participate in a clinical rotation and/or externship prior to graduation.
Educational Requirements for Sonographers
In terms of educational requirements, Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Information & DMS Specializations
For students that earn a college degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from dental hygienist, post-secondary teacher, researcher, genomics, immunologist, toxicologist, virologist, biologist, biological technician, biomedical engineer, microbiologist, medical scientist, epidemiologist, diagnostic medical sonographer, nuclear medicine technologist, nursing assistant, MRI Technologist, registered nurse, and vascular technologist to name a few possible career tracks.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Sonography Fields
The job growth in the greater Diagnostic Medical Sonography domain are well above average. In fact, job growth in diagnostic medical sonography is estimated to jump by an amazing 24% which is nearly four times the national average.
Given the broad nature of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include teaching, research, genomics, immunology, radiobiology, neuroanatomy, pharmacology, nursing, medical science, and microbiology. The median annual income for a sonographer is $69,650.
States with the Highest Employment of Sonographers
- California 5,640
- Texas 5,190
- Florida 5,120
- New York 4,730
- Pennsylvania 2,530
Top Paying States for Sonographers
- California $93,350
- District of Columbia $87,750
- Washington $86,970
- Oregon $84,160
- Colorado $81,830