SONOGRAM TECHNICIAN: How to Become an Ultrasound Technician, Plus Salary and Courses

Image credit: All Allied Health School

If you find joy in lending a hand to others and thrive in a fast-paced and stimulating atmosphere, then the profession of a sonographer could be your calling. In the world of medicine, there exists a group of skilled professionals who possess a unique set of abilities. These individuals are known by a variety of names, including ultrasound technicians, sonographers, and ultrasound technologists. Regardless of the title, they all share a common trait: a deep level of expertise and training in their field. Read on to learn how to become a sonogram technician, the salary, and the sonogram technician program schools.

Who Is a Sonogram Technician?

Sonographers, who are also referred to as ultrasound technicians, utilize ultrasound technology to generate medical photographs of the internal anatomy. These images aid medical professionals in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients. Central Oregon sonographer Kate Scrivens says sonographers use sound waves to create non-invasive diagnostic imaging of inside body components. This radiation-free technology is safe. It can generate images of various body components such as blood vessels, cells, tissues, ligaments, muscles, and embryos.

Furthermore, sonographers are responsible for providing images, as well as their professional insights and a comprehensive report, to a radiologist, who is responsible for interpreting the images. 

How to Become a Sonogram Technician

The field of diagnostic medical sonography is experiencing growth and presents opportunities for specialization as one progresses in their career. However, for individuals considering a career as a sonographer, the following is a comprehensive guide to pursuing this profession.

#1. Discover the Level of Education Required for Your Desired Career Path

When it comes to choosing your educational journey, it’s crucial to take into account various factors such as your financial situation, career aspirations, and personal obligations like caregiving. You have a couple of paths to choose from a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. Moreover, individuals in the healthcare industry who possess a degree and aspire to venture into the world of sonography can achieve their goal by obtaining a certificate, which typically requires one to two years of dedicated effort.

#2. Earn Your Degree From an Accredited Program

By enrolling in an accredited program at a prestigious institution, you’ll be showcasing to prospective employers that you’ve received top-notch education and training that meets the rigorous standards set forth by accrediting agencies. Medical facilities are keen on ensuring that you have received a top-notch education. According to Scrivens, opting for an accredited school is a smart move that reflects your readiness.

#3. Acquire Experience in the Field

Embark on an exciting journey of discovery as you delve into the world of sonography. As you progress through your program, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your skills and gain invaluable experience by immersing yourself in the fast-paced environment of a medical facility. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the exciting world of sonography! As a budding sonographer, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals who will guide you in applying your classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios.

So, if you possess the power to choose your clinical, strive to seek out a plethora of diverse experiences. “By doing so, you shall unravel your preferences towards specific tasks or methodologies,” Scrivens suggests.

#4. Ponder the Possibility of Obtaining a Certification

In today’s cut-throat job market, certification has become a prerequisite for most employers, especially those operating in bustling metropolitan areas and lucrative industries. The more credentials you acquire, the more you can distinguish yourself from a pool of contenders. Exploring multiple sonography specialties and obtaining certification can enhance your adaptability and broaden your career opportunities.

Salary of a Sonogram Technician

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, ultrasound technicians across the nation earned a median annual salary of $77,740. According to the BLS, the earnings of ultrasound technologists vary greatly. The crème de la crème of this profession earned a whopping $100,000 or more, while the bottom 10% took home up to $59,000 annually.  Compensation and job statistics are subject to regional fluctuations and are based on a nationwide mean.

The field of diagnostic medical sonography is often hailed as one of the most lucrative career paths that does not require a four-year college degree. As one’s expertise in the realm of sonography grows, so too can their potential for greater financial reward. Acquiring certifications and pursuing higher education can pave the way for more sophisticated and specialized career opportunities, ultimately resulting in a fatter paycheck. The remuneration of a sonographer is influenced by the environment in which they operate. In 2021, outpatient care centers paid skilled ultrasound wizards more than hospitals, labs, and doctor’s offices, according to the BLS. Sonographers who are on-call or work unfavorable shifts may receive extra pay (terms and conditions may vary).

Finally, one’s whereabouts can also play a role in shaping their earnings. The sonographers who chose to work in the USA—Washington, D.C., Kauai, Washington, and Portland—were rewarded with the most generous compensation packages among all states.

Sonogram Technician Schools

Below are the various top sonogram technicians schools:

#1. Jackson College

Anyone interested in gaining the fundamental skills necessary for a career in general sonography can do so by enrolling in Jackson College’s Associate of Applied Science in General Sonography program. 

This course can be taken online at a time that is convenient for you, thanks to its synchronous format. Although some coursework can be completed online, students will need to spend significant time in person at a licensed medical facility to meet clinical requirements. Students interested in the program are advised to review Jackson College’s point system to determine if they meet the admissions criteria. Students leave the program equipped to work as assistants in radiology departments, emergency rooms, and other medical facilities.

#2. State Fair Community College

If you’re seeking to pursue a career in the medical field, State Fair Community College has got you covered with its Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Sonography. This program offers an exciting opportunity for students to delve into the fascinating world of radiology and sonography. Through hands-on experience, students will master the operation of various cutting-edge radiology equipment and gain a solid foundation of knowledge in these fields.

In addition, their courses are available online, allowing you to participate synchronously from the comfort of your own home. And when it’s time for scanning labs, you’ll get to come to our beautiful campus and put your skills into practice. Given the circumstances, it’s highly probable that students would prefer to reside near the campus situated in Seminole, Florida. Upon the completion of their studies, students can opt for certification exams that open up a plethora of professional avenues in their chosen field.

#3. Oregon Institute of Technology

Experience an expedited and exceptional educational journey with the Oregon Institute of Technology’s bachelor’s degree program in diagnostic medical sonography. This exclusive program is tailor-made for registered sonographers, and unfortunately, it is not open to other aspiring students. The program offers synchronous online courses that leverage the knowledge and expertise of students’ prior education. The program’s curriculum is a perfect blend of medical fundamentals and advanced ultrasound courses, making it one-of-a-kind. Aspiring sonographers have the option to pursue a particular area of interest by enrolling in elective courses. When students finish their studies, they will have the skills they need to work as a radiologic technician in a hospital, a radiology office, or any other medical center.

#4. Washburn University

Students interested in working with medical sonography equipment and entering the sonography field can earn a certification from Washburn University. Since 2002, the entire program has been available solely through the web. Washburn University has been offering distance education for so long that they have amassed an extensive online library and instructional platform for their students. All courses are available in real-time on their online learning management system. Students must perform clinical rotations in person, although they need not do so on campus. In addition to the broader field of sonography, students can specialize in either capillary sonography, cardio sonography, or general sonography.

#5. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Medical Diagnostic Imaging for those interested in a career as a radiologic technician. The unique thing about this curriculum is that it can be done completely online through a mix of asynchronous and live lectures. If they want to, students can do clinical rotations in their neighborhoods instead of on campus. The program is set up so that students learn about radiology in general and also have the chance to focus on a subspecialty of their choice.

Sonogram technician program

Embarking on a journey toward a fulfilling and prosperous career in sonography requires a top-notch postsecondary education. In this day and age, the plethora of ultrasound tech schools can make selecting the perfect fit for your unique needs and lifestyle a daunting task. When it comes to choosing between sonogram technician programs, it’s crucial to meticulously evaluate the four pivotal factors: 

#1. Cost

Investing in higher education is like planting a seed that will blossom into a bright and fruitful future. Just like many other esteemed institutions, San Joaquin Valley College offers a plethora of funding options to its applicants. These include federal and state financial aid programs as well as private financing opportunities. Meanwhile, for those who are deemed eligible, a plethora of opportunities await in the form of grants, scholarships, and student loans. 

#2. Accreditation

When an institution receives institutional accreditation, it’s like a seal of approval that assures employers that the institution has met the highest standards of quality. The attainment of certification and licensure as a diagnostic medical sonographer may require one to have graduated from an accredited institution.

#3. Quality of Instruction

The caliber of instructors can make or break a student’s learning experience. When the management and teachers have prior experience and take the time to get to know their students, it can make a big difference in how well they do in school. Hence, by implementing this strategy, one can pave the way for a triumphant outcome.

#4. Practical Experience

Sonogram technicians are the ones who get up close and personal with patients. It’s imperative that a diagnostic medical sonography program provide ample opportunities for practical, hands-on experience.

How Long Is a Sonogram Technician Program?

While it’s true that everyone’s answer to this question is different and depends on a lot of things, such as their tastes, experiences, and circumstances, there are some things that everyone should consider. In the area of medical sonography, it is well known that most diagnostic medical sonography programs usually take about a year of full-time study to finish. Of course, there may be some variation in program length depending on the specific institution, program structure, and other factors, but this general timeframe is a good starting point for those interested in pursuing a career in this exciting and dynamic field.

What Is the Difference Between a Sonogram and an Ultrasound Technician?

The skilled ultrasound technician wields the power of ultrasound technology to keep a watchful eye on the inner workings of the body. However, the adept sonographer harnesses the same technology to detect, diagnose, and even combat ailments lurking within the tissue layers and organs.

What Is the Difference Between Radiology and Sonography?

The captivating field of radiology employs a diverse range of advanced technologies, including those that harness the power of radiation, such as CT scans and MRIs. However, with the power of ultrasound technology, sonographers can peer inside the human body and capture stunning images using high-frequency sound waves. The art of sonography relies on the power of sound waves, without any involvement of harmful radiation.

Which Is Better Ultrasound or Sonography?

Ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging modality utilized to capture images of internal body structures. However, a sonogram refers to the visual representation produced by ultrasound. Sonography also refers to the utilization of ultrasound technology for diagnostic purposes.


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