Online Courses and Classes to Be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Online classes and courses for aspiring diagnostic medical sonographers are available through several community colleges and universities. Learn how these courses work, and read the descriptions of some common course offerings.

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Essential Information

Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound equipment to direct sound waves into the body to produce an image or video used for detecting abnormalities in patients, as well as in fetuses. Online courses in diagnostic medical sonography may be part of certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs in the field. Due to the hands-on training involved with the profession, most programs combine online and in-person learning.

Course Overviews

Diagnostic medical sonography courses typically cover principles and methods for conducting sonographic examinations, as well as using the equipment. Because of the hands-on nature of this field, distance learning students need to complete hands-on training sessions at local hospitals or healthcare facilities. The descriptions below highlight the typical curriculum of some common online courses in diagnostic medical sonography.

Introduction to Sonography

Online courses to be a diagnostic medical sonographer generally begin with this introductory course, which teaches the foundations of sonography. Distance students learn the terminology and study anatomical relationships, scan plane orientations and basic sonography technology. This course also offers training in hospital organization, basic patient care principles and administrative operations to prepare students for medical careers.

Sectional Anatomy

The primary duty of a diagnostic medical sonographer is to create accurate images of the body, so sonographers must understand both anatomy and the ways the body can be imaged. This course teaches online students to view anatomy through transverse, longitudinal and coronal planes. Special topics include vasculature and abdominopelvic organs. In addition to online lectures and assignments, online learners may be required to complete hands-on training sessions at local area facilities.

Abdominal Sonography

This course teaches students the essential diagnostic techniques used by diagnostic medical sonographers in interpreting information from abdominal sonographs. Distance education students learn how to distinguish normal and abnormal sonographic patterns while studying pathology, clinical signs, normal variants and clinical laboratory tests. Clinical sessions at local area facilities may be required.

Physics of Ultrasound I

This course introduces the principles of ultrasound equipment and the images that each produces. Online learners discuss the basic principles of acoustical physics such as sound waves, acoustical properties, transducer characteristics and range calculations. Artifacts in imaging and motion detection are also introduced.

Obstetrical and Gynecological Sonography

Pelvic and obstetrical sonographic examinations are the focus of this online course in diagnostic medical sonography. Online students study sonographic images to learn gynecologic and fetal anatomy. They are trained to use clinical testing, sonographic images and symptoms to detect normal growth of a fetus, as well as gynecological and fetal anomalies.

Vascular Sonography

Online students study vascular anatomy including the carotid and abdominal aorta, as well as scanning protocols and techniques. This course trains future diagnostic medical sonographers to evaluate these structures utilizing 2-dimensional, Doppler and pressure readings. Distance learners discuss disease symptoms, as well as image abnormalities.

How Online Learning Works

Distance learning courses in diagnostic medical sonography mimic traditional courses; however, lectures, assignments and quizzes are delivered through online learning platforms, such as Blackboard and WebCT. Interactivity occurs via online communication tools such as e-mail, discussion boards and instant messenger. Distance learners must meet computer standards and have reliable Internet access to connect to online courses.

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