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Sonography Colleges: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer School

If you are interested in completing a degree program in medical sonography or want to become an ultrasound technician, you will need to attend sonography colleges that offer specialized, hands-on training and classroom instruction. Sonography schools around the United States teach students how to perform basic duties using the latest medical technologies and applications, and many offer associate's degrees, bachelor's degree and certificate programs. Experienced and skilled sonographers and ultrasound techs are trained to operate very specialized types of medical equipment and most hold at least an associate's degree from an accredited diagnostic medical sonographer school.

Programs Available at Sonography Schools

Students who attend sonography schools learn how to use different types of ultrasound equipment to create internal body images for review by physicians and other medical professionals. These images are usually used to detect and diagnose different types of diseases and medical conditions, and students may work closely with medical professionals in a lab setting. Students who complete programs at sonography schools learn basic medical terminology and also have the chance to interact with patients during the clinical portion of their program.

Ultrasound diagnostic digital imaging is among the fastest emerging fields in the healthcare industry and many hospitals and medical centers are looking for qualified and skilled sonographers who have attended a diagnostic medical sonographer school to operate their machines. Sonography technicians use a special instrument called a transducer to crate the ultrasound images of the patient. Sonography schools typically train students in the following areas:

  • Performing diagnostic medical sonography scans
  • Diagnostic scanning techniques
  • Radiographic technology
  • Pathophysiology of organs and their functions
  • Cardiovascular system processes
  • Diseases and how they affect the abdominal area (abdominal sonography)
  • Doppler sonography and the arterial system
  • Microscopic anatomy
  • Blood study and hemodynamics
  • Analyzing vascular examination results

Types of Courses Available at a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer School

Students attending sonography schools are typically required to take general education courses in biology, life science and general anatomy. Some degree programs are affiliated with hospitals and medical centers in the community, and sonography colleges may offer job placement options shortly after graduation.

Some of the common types of courses available at a diagnostic medical sonographer school include:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Basic Sonography Techniques and Applications
  • Ultrasound Physics
  • Vascular Technology
  • Elementary Physics

Attending a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer School

Students who complete a training program at a diagnostic medical sonographer school learn basic and advanced diagnostic medical procedures using ultrasound equipment and have the opportunity to complete several hours of hands-on training. Sonography is becoming the diagnostic detection process of choices for heart disease, vascular disease and heart attacks. As more doctors and physicians use sonographic equipment to detect and diagnose these diseases and other health problems, demand for experienced and skilled diagnostic medical sonographers will remain strong.

Students who attend a diagnostic medical sonographer school can choose to specialize in one or several of the following areas:

  • Abdominal sonography
  • Breast screenings and mammography
  • Obstetrics/gynecology
  • Echocardiography
  • Vascular technology
  • Neurosonology
  • Ophthalmology

Students completing training at sonography colleges are typically trained to perform the following tasks and duties:

  • Performing diagnostic procedures
  • Obtaining diagnostic images
  • Providing written summaries or reports of test results
  • Providing a high level of quality patient care
  • Collaborating and meeting with physicians and other health care professionals
  • Analyzing and reviewing technical information
  • Maintaining an accurate patient records

Sonographers, ultrasound technicians and vascular technologists can work in a variety of settings including private clinics, hospitals, public health facilities, fertility clinics and other medical settings that perform ultrasound examinations. Diagnostic medical sonography programs at sonography schools can vary from one to four years in length depending on the type of degree or certificate the student is completing.

Career Outlook after Diagnostic Medical Sonographer School

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers will be favorable through 2018 and that hospitals employ approximately 59 percent of all sonographers. After completing training at a diagnostic medical sonographer school, the graduate can choose to become credentialed by The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Students who wish to receive this credential must pass the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) examination.

As of May 2008, the median annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers was $61,980. Those who work in the offices of physicians typically earn slightly more than the average.

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