Ultrasound Technician Schools

Ultrasound is a type of technology that uses focused high-frequency sound waves to create an image that is inaccessible to the eye. Examples include prenatal viewing, kidney stones, and internal structure evaluation. Ultrasound can also be used to break up mineral deposits in kidneys and gall bladders.

The Facts: Ultrasound Schools and Training

People wanting to pursue ultrasound technicians may take one of several tracks. Vocational ultrasound schools offer training for year-long certification programs and two-year associate's degrees, and colleges and universities offer four-year programs to bestow a bachelor's degree. An associate's degree or certification may fast-track you to a career, but a bachelor's degree may help you make the most of ultrasound schools and get you into a more advanced career pathway.

  • Admissions specifications vary for ultrasound schools. Almost all programs have a high-school diploma or equivalency prerequisite, and some may require an interview, entrance examinations, or experience and credentials in other health care areas.
  • The main institution for credentialing ultrasound technicians, the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) recognizes only one accrediting agency for ultrasound schools: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Students who attend ultrasound schools that are not CAAHEP accredited may opt to take an ARDMS exam for certification after a year of experience working within the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS).

What to Expect from Ultrasound Schools

Students in ultrasound schools may expect hands-on training and coursework in a number of topics, including:

  • Sonographic physics and instrumentation
  • Gray scale and color-flow Doppler sonography
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology and ethics
  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonography

Some ultrasound schools may also require experience through clinical externships--many unpaid--in professional facilities that make use of ultrasound technology, learning directly from professionals already working in the field.

What may be the possible features of Ultrasound Schools?

Completing a certificate or associate's degree program from ultrasound schools may be instrumental in preparing graduates for entry-level positions in the field. As health care in the U.S. continues to develop, and ultrasound technology advances, there may be a greater demand for employees with credentials from ultrasound schools.

Certain specialized areas of ultrasound medical diagnosis may require a four-year degree. For those interested in any of the following specializations, a longer education track may secure a more senior job.

  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonography
  • Abdominal sonography
  • Diagnostic cardiac sonography
  • Vascular technology
  • Neurosonology
  • Ophthalmology or ophthalmic biometry

For some people, it might be beneficial to get the certification, start working in the field, and then reapply to ultrasound schools to get the next degree. Each person has a unique career pathway, and the best way to determine what works is to get informed.