How To Become a Sonographer in 5 Steps

Many education paths are available for prospective sonographers, but the most common is a 2-year degree through an accredited sonography training program. Bachelor’s degrees are also available, as are 1-year certificate programs in sonography for persons already trained in another healthcare field.

Sonographers and ultrasound technicians, two terms that are frequently used interchangeably to refer to the same profession, are essential to the healthcare system. To determine whether a health issue is present, they create s of the patients’ organs using diagnostic equipment. There are several educational paths for people interested in sonography. Several options teach students the skills necessary for success through both classroom and clinical work, from earning a certification to graduating from an associate or bachelor’s degree program. Read on to see which path is right for you.

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

What does a sonographer do?

Sonographers are people who work with ultrasonic technology to create images of a patient’s body, like in an ultrasound. Ultrasounds are frequently the first diagnostic imaging exam patients receive to identify abnormalities and make diagnoses because they are non-invasive and provide visualization for internal organs. These medical professionals also frequently interact with patients and provide a variety of medical and patient care services, such as:

Sonographers will also carry out specific tasks related to their area of expertise depending on their specialties. Some of these tasks include:

What is a sonographer?

Sonographers (diagnostic medical sonographers) are medical professionals who create images, videos, scans, and three-dimensional visualizations of the human body using ultrasonic imaging equipment. These tools are used by sonographers to produce diagnostic information that doctors and other healthcare professionals can use to identify and treat patients. Furthermore, medical professionals with backgrounds in other specialties, such as radiology and nursing, can pursue a specialization in sonography. In order to create images of internal organs, tissue, muscle, and bone, sonographers can choose to specialize in a particular area of diagnostic medical sonography. In this case, they will use ultrasonic devices in those areas of the body.

Average salary for sonographers

There are several steps involved in becoming a sonographer, and if you already have a background in medicine, you can choose to enroll in a certification program. The following actions essentially summarize how to become a sonographer:

1. Complete your associates degree

You have the option of pursuing an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, which can be finished in just two years. Students who want to enter the field quickly without completing a four-year degree program should choose this route. However, some employers might insist that you hold a bachelor’s degree, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you complete your education.

2. Complete your bachelors degree

Make sure the bachelor’s program you enroll in is Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited if you decide to pursue your four-year degree. A diagnostic medical sonography bachelor’s degree program typically includes health science, math, and medical technology courses as well as practical training.

3. Gain clinical experience

Increase your clinical and practical patient care experience by, for example, signing up for an internship. You can develop your interpersonal and communication skills as well as your medical and technical skills through clinical experience in a real-world setting. The ability to communicate with and establish rapport with your patients is a crucial skill you’ll need for the job.

4. Obtain your certification

You will typically need to possess a certification in diagnostic medical sonography to work. Before specializing in another area of sonography, the majority of sonographers first earn their Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification. The Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), and Registered in Musculoskeletal (RMSK) credentials are just a few of the additional certifications that the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers for sonographers who specialize. Prior to receiving your certification, you must take and pass a certification exam for each credential.

5. Choose a specialty

You can pursue a career in a specialty of sonography once you have earned your degree and primary RDMS certification. Breast sonography, abdominal sonography, echocardiography, obstetrics and gynecology, and neurosonology are a few specialties in medical sonography to take into account. You can easily bolster your credentials as a diagnostic medical sonographer by earning certifications from the ARRT in each specialty of sonography.

Frequently asked questions about becoming a sonographer

Additional information on this profession can be gained by considering the following frequently asked questions about being a medical sonographer:

What skills do you need to be a sonographer?

Sonographers rely heavily on their interpersonal and communication skills because they interact with patients on a daily basis. You must have compassion, empathy, and sensitivity toward patients if you want to succeed as a sonographer. Along with your general medical knowledge and abilities, you also need to be able to maintain and operate the imaging and ultrasonic equipment. Additionally adaptable, sonographers frequently work in hectic settings where they must use their critical thinking, attention to detail, and organizational skills to do their jobs well.

Who employs sonographers?

Sonographers can work in a variety of hospitals and healthcare settings. Sonographers who specialize in a field of sonography like obstetrics and gynecology will work in a women’s healthcare facility or the OB/GYN department of a hospital. The majority of sonographers work in hospitals and healthcare clinics. Sonographers can essentially work anywhere that doctors and medical professionals conduct radiologic and ultrasound imaging procedures.

Whats the work environment like for a sonographer?

Depending on their area of specialization, sonographers typically maintain full-time schedules with 40-hour workweeks in a variety of settings. However, sonographers who work in hospitals and large medical facilities typically carry out their duties in fast-paced settings and see a number of patients each day. Sonographers may appreciate a laid-back clinical setting in smaller settings, like a pediatrician’s office, where they work closely with attending nurses and pediatricians and form close bonds with their patients.

How can sonographers advance their careers?

Sonographers with an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography may decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in addition to certification in a particular area of sonography, such as musculoskeletal sonography, adult and pediatric echocardiography, or vascular technology. As a radiological technologist, sonographers with bachelor’s degrees in the field will be in charge of operating, maintaining, and carrying out X-ray procedures on radiological equipment. It’s a great chance to advance your career because doing one of these things can increase your potential earnings overall.


Is being a sonographer hard?

Time-consuming but Worth the Effort Completing a program does require effort. A program leading to an Associate Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is among the best options. The degree from a CAAHEP-accredited program takes two years to complete, but it entitles the sonography student to sit for the ARDMS exams.

Is being a sonographer a good career?

According to U. S. Sonography was ranked as the #5 Best Health Support Job by News and Money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19. Within the next ten years, employment for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow by 5%. On average, sonographers make a median salary of $72,510.

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