If you want to become a sonographer, choosing the right sonogram technician school is very important. The classes you take should give you a solid foundation for working in this fulfilling and rewarding career.
Finding the Right School
Sonogram technician programs are found at community colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Any of these options are fine as long as the program holds accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. There are over 150 programs throughout the United States that meet this qualification.
The best way to find the right program is to spend time researching the schools in your area. Find out how long it takes to complete the program and what the class sizes are.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Because it means the curriculum, facilities, and faculty meet quality standards. Employers prefer to hire sonogram technicians who graduated from such a program, and it is the easiest way to meet the eligibility requirements for the optional certification exam. In fact, many states will not certify a sonographer who has not graduated from an accredited program.
Associate of Applied Science Degree – Associate degrees in medical sonography take two years to complete and they prepare students for workforce placement upon graduation. Many students choose this option since they can finish in a shorter amount of time with the necessary practical skills to work in sonography.
Bachelor of Science Degree – This program takes four years to complete and gives students a deeper knowledge of the ultrasound field. More specialized training is available, therefore, students have greater access to higher level jobs.
These vary from school to school, but generally students can expect to take:
Abdominal Sonogram – Students must complete at least one class dedicated to taking sonograms of the abdomen. During this course, students learn about common pathologies of the abdomen along with their symptoms.
Clinical Practicum – Clinical classes generally take place in a hospital or physician’s office where students are able to interact with patients and put their skills to use. Students can work in cardiac, general, or vascular fields in order to have a good understanding about how each uses diagnostic imaging practices.
Concepts in Patient Care – This course gives students essential communication skills as well as examines the ethical, legal, and psychological concerns that go along with sonography.
Equipment Use and Maintenance – Students learn how to properly use the ultrasound equipment such as operating the transducers and scan converters as well as how to maintain the equipment and how to identify technical problems.
Human Physiology and Anatomy – Students learn the detailed descriptions of bodily systems, along with how they work together to make the body function effectively. Ultrasound images are examined in order to identify parts such as the liver, kidneys, and a developing brain.
Introduction to Sonongrams – This introductory course is taken during the first semester of a sonogram training program. Students learn the vocabulary of sonography, ultrasound technology, as well as patient care and administrative procedures.
OB-GYN Sonogram – This is another sonogram course that most students are required to take. It covers the anatomy of the female pelvis, obstetric ultrasound techniques, and neonatal sonograms.
Ultrasound Physics – This is an advanced course that examines the physical science behind acoustic physics. Special topics covered include transmission, three-dimensional applications, and diagnostic images.
As mentioned earlier, there are over 150 accredited programs students can choose from. Some of them are:
- East-West University, Chicago, Illinois
- Gulf Coast Community College, Panama City, Florida
- Middlesex Community College, Bedford, Massachusetts
- Sanford Brown Institute, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
- Spokane Community College, Spokane, Washington
- St. Philips College, San Antonio Texas
If you would like to learn more about sonogram technician schools, please contact us for more information.