Diagnostic medical sonographer schools can offer in-class, online or blended programs. The online programs that are offered are primarily certificate or associate degree programs. The minimum requirements for most diagnostic medical sonography schools will require the student to have their high school diploma or equivalent, with some degree programs requiring prior courses in math or science to be taken in order to qualify for enrolment.
The Sonography Career
As a sonographer you will operate ultrasound machinery, with the images produced being used by a physician in order to assist in diagnosing a patient’s condition. A sonographer will commonly hold an associate’s degree in this field but may be required to further their education if they wish to obtain supervisory positions.
The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographer offers tests for certification in basic sonography as well as different specialty fields such as the breast, abdomen, nervous system and heart. In order to maintain certification through the ARDMS Organization the sonographer will need to obtain continuing education hours, the number of which will vary from state to state.
Blended programs will be offered by local schools that feature sonography programs. The blended program features half of the coursework held on campus with the other half of the coursework taken online at home. A blended program is designed to give the student more flexibility in their schedule while also providing them with in-class learning experiences. This type of program is commonly found in community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools. Four year colleges may also feature some of the sonography courses online; however this will typically involve only one to two courses.
Online Programs Available
If you are interested in taking an online degree program you will need to have a personal computer, webcam and internet access. To qualify for a program online the student will need to have completed the natural science requirements or have a degree in nursing. These online programs will combine clinical training with webinars and courses in sonography. The program can last two to four years and includes clinical labs and courses in advanced anatomy and medical terminology. The student will also be able to choose a specialty area such as mammography, general sonography, vascular sonogaphy or abdominal.
The online associate’s degree will have the student attending live web lectures, online lessons and clinical training in a hospital or clinic. The amount of clinical training may vary depending on each school’s program; however the typical amount will range from 20 to 30 hours each week for a period of two to three months.
The bachelor’s degree program that is available online is designed for students who want to work in a supervisory role. The programs are designed to give a student a better understanding for this health care profession by providing courses in several health care specialty fields such as health care management, health care policy and pharmacology. Having sonography as a major will feature courses directed towards medical imaging in conjunction with courses for managerial skills in a health care setting. After a student has completed their education they will need to take the American Registry for Medical Sonography exam to gain their certification in this field. Registration with this organization also requires the sonographer to maintain their licensure by earning continuing education hours every year.