Ultrasound exams are becoming increasingly popular because they are non-invasive. This means the need for ultrasound technicians is on the rise, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions is expected to grow 46 percent through 2022.
Ultrasound technicians need to have at least an Associate of Applied Science degree in order to gain employment. Students can opt to take online classes, however, few online programs have accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, while there are over 150 such programs throughout the country at brick and mortar locations. Students who enroll in online classes are likely to be required to complete lab time in diagnosis and interpretation of imaging scans, which means spending time at the school, as well as a clinical internship that includes hands-on training at an actual medical setting such as a hospital, laboratory, or physician’s office.
Once enrolled, students will first work on prerequisite courses such as Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Hospital Organization, Medical Ethics, Medical Terminology, and Patient Care. After those are completed, students will take classes that include Cardiac Sonography Procedures, General Sonography Procedures, Human Disease, Physics and Instrumentation, Introduction to Ultrasound Technology, and Vascular Sonography Procedures.
How to Select an Online Ultrasound Technician School
There are several things that should be taken into consideration when selecting an online program:
- First and foremost, as mentioned above, the school must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Programs. This is very important if you want/need to take the certification exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Also, many employers won’t hire ultrasound technicians who did not graduate from an accredited program.
- Can you meet the program requirements? Ask if you need to spend time at the school to complete the laboratory portion of the program, and if you do, make sure they offer a time that works with your schedule.
- Do you meet the technology requirements?
- How easy is it to contact an instructor for help?
- What is the school’s graduation rate?
Mistakes Online Students Make
There are a few mistakes that online students make, and all are easy to avoid:
- Procrastinating – When left to complete courses at their own pace, many students procrastinate which will delay graduation if classes are not completed on time.
- Not getting the proper credit – If students have credit from another school, they should have their transcript sent to the online school to have it checked for course equivalency.
- Not knowing the resources – Many schools offer online resources that students often overlook such as downloadable subject matter guides, library access, and virtual tutoring.
Accredited Ultrasound Technician Online Schools
Below is a brief description of three accredited online schools. Before enrolling, contact the school to confirm their accreditation is still valid.
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
Students can choose from a certificate program (no matter the school, certificates are only for those already working in healthcare) or a Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Along with the General Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, their online program also offers a Cardiac Sonography program and a Vascular Sonography program.
Jackson Community College, Jackson, Michigan
Students who enroll in this college’s online school can work toward a certificate or associate degree, and specialize in general sonography,echocardiography, or vascular sonography.
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Students can choose between general sonography and echocardiography. Professional training takes place in Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee, therefore, students may have to relocate to complete this portion of the program.
Choosing a school is an important decision. If you have any questions, please contact us to learn more.