Aspiring sonographers must undergo particular training in order to meet the educational requirements for the field. In order to enroll in one of these specialized programs, one must have a high school diploma or have completed the requirements associated with a General Educational Development certificate. It is suggested that aspiring ultrasound technicians place an emphasis on mathematical, scientific, and computer-oriented education.
Once secondary school is completed, individuals looking to penetrate this field must enroll in and complete a program of study at one of the many institutions with accredited ultrasound technician schools. These programs are generally offered by universities and vocational institutions. Their duration ranges from a couple of months to four years and the certification can be attained while in the process of completing a bachelor or associate degree.
The content of these degree programs often includes material covering anatomy and physiology, life sciences, and specific courses pertaining to the operation of ultrasound equipment. It is recommended that individuals complete these programs as part of a larger degree in order to further ensure viability on the job market.
Clinical instruction is another important step towards gaining practical experience in the field. Opportunities to participate in such programs are often abundant within the scope of university programs. These practicum experiences provide individuals hoping to break their way into the field with valuable observational and hands-on experience related to sonography.
Another recommended step is to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This comprehensive examination includes a general physics section and another pertaining to the particular area of specialty with which the test-taker is interested. While this exam is not required for ultrasound technicians, it is generally recommended for those striving towards a career in sonography.
In sum, individuals are required to complete at the very least an 18 week accredited ultrasound technician education program. However, it is recommended that individuals complete such a program as part of a two-year or four-year college degree as these institutions offer both enhanced job market viability and practicum courses that impart hands-on experience.
Sonography is currently a very promising medical field for those looking to find their first or a new career in a difficult job market. Despite recent economic difficulties, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities in sonography will increase by up to 19% by the year 2018. As a sonographer, an individual can expect to potentially make over $60,000 a year.