How Long Does It Take To Become an Ultrasound Technician?

two years

The bare minimum education needed to become an ultrasound technician, also known as a sonographer, is a two-year trade program. Diagnostic imaging has some of the most enticing careers in healthcare. Mammographers, CT and MRI technicians, and radiographers all make excellent salaries and work in a sterile, well-lit environment. They have an impressive combination of high pay and promising job prospects, and their training is only briefly required.

How to become an Ultrasound Technologist (Sonographer) in 5 steps

Why should you become an ultrasound technician?

Ultrasound technicians have a rewarding and challenging career that allows them to improve the health of others. Here are eight good reasons to think about becoming an ultrasound technician.

1. Cutting edge career field

The environment in which ultrasound technicians work is constantly developing its capabilities. They gain knowledge of how to identify and diagnose abnormalities and diseases using cutting-edge technology.

2. Save lives

Early disease detection and treatment are essential for a successful outcome and a good prognosis. It’s possible that ultrasound technicians will be the first to notice a spot or color that needs to be thoroughly examined. Ultrasound technicians are a line of defense in disease prevention by collaborating with doctors and nurses.

3. Earning potential

4. Continuing education and ongoing training

To learn about brand-new methods or tools, ultrasound technicians might go to lectures or training sessions. They can choose to advance to another healthcare position or take advantage of numerous opportunities to further their education and learn new things. Obtain certifications in areas of expertise like obstetrics and cardiology to advance your training.

5. Enter the field quickly

Ultrasound technicians can obtain their certificate in a little over a year, depending on their training and experience. The most popular option, two-year programs provide extra education and training in less time than it takes to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

6. Job opportunities

By obtaining specialized certifications, ultrasound technicians can advance their education and eventually become registered nurses, physician assistants, or doctors. Non-clinical ultrasound technicians may work in department management, as research sonographers, as educators in the field of sonography, or in the sales of ultrasound equipment.

7. Varied routines

Since ultrasound technicians interact with a variety of patients and medical professionals throughout the day, their jobs are rarely monotonous. They spend the day performing office tasks and a variety of technician-related tasks. Techs are constantly learning new things thanks to ongoing seminars and training sessions.

8. Several options to become an ultrasound technician

Choose a program that fits your lifestyle and achieves your goals by tailoring your education to your current role, educational aspirations, and career objectives. Check with an advisor to see if the college credits you already have will satisfy certain educational requirements. To advance your career, you can specialize or decide to focus solely on research.

What is an ultrasound tech?

Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers or diagnostic medical sonographers, carry out ultrasound procedures on all parts of the human body, though they are frequently connected to pregnancy. Along with the heart and nervous system, ultrasound technicians also search for anomalies in the breast, abdominal cavity, or other tissues.

Ultrasound technicians generally:

Typically, ultrasound technicians work in medical settings such as clinics or research facilities. An ultrasound technicians day often includes:

How long will it take to complete my education?

Depending on their current level of education or intended job role, prospective ultrasound technicians can select between one and four-year programs. Healthcare professionals can enroll in a one-year certificate or diploma program that complements their current training if they are already employed. Depending on their career objectives, students without a background in healthcare choose between two and four-year programs.

To ensure the program offers practical training, a thorough education, financial aid assistance, and qualifies students to earn certification, select a school or program that has received accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). See if there are any accredited local or regional programs offering the aforementioned advantages. There are academic writing requirements and courses specifically for ultrasound technicians, as well as externships that give students real-world experience.

Courses include:

In addition to coursework, ultrasound techs learn:

One year certificate program

A one-year certificate program offers the education necessary for current healthcare workers to become ultrasound technicians. Registered nurses, physicians assistants, occupational therapists, and other professionals in related fields are eligible to enroll in this brief program, which is typically finished in one to 18 months.

This condensed program provides classroom instruction and hands-on training. Some employers may work with students to help them learn by offering support like flexible schedules or tuition reimbursement.

College courses required to meet criteria include:

Two-year associates degree program

The most typical path to ultrasound certification is to earn an Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which typically takes two years to complete. Typically, colleges, community colleges, or training hospitals offer accredited programs. Along with studying academic requirements, students also take courses in anatomy and physiology.

Coursework includes:

Four-year bachelors degree program

The two-year program’s coursework is expanded upon in the four-year program, which can be completed in as little as four years. Students who pursue ultrasound specialties receive training and education that may open up additional career opportunities, such as department lead promotions or job changes to nursing. A bachelor’s degree can improve your abilities, expose you to research projects, and boost your earning potential.

In addition to associates degree courses, bachelors degree coursework includes:

Become certified

After completing your education, it’s time to obtain your certification. Sonography Principles & Instrumentation Examination (SPI), approved by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), is taken by ultrasound technicians.

There are approximately 110 multiple-choice and interactive questions on the exam, which typically lasts two hours. You have 60 days to retake the test if you don’t pass it the first time.

Go further

Consider expanding your education to include specialized sonography such as:

You must pass the tests made available through ARDMS and approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

These exams certify:


Is ultrasound technology hard?

It’s a position that calls for technical know-how, in-depth familiarity with human anatomy, and the interpersonal abilities required to put a patient at ease throughout the procedure. Although becoming an ultrasound technician may seem like a difficult job, the required schooling can be completed in as little as two years.

What is the highest paid Ultrasound Tech?

The Highest-paying Specialties for an Ultrasound Technician:
  • Neuro (brain) sonography: $112,000.
  • Pediatric cardiac sonography: $80,000.
  • Cardiac sonography: $79,000.
  • Vascular sonography: $68,000.
  • Ob/gyn sonography: $68,000.

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