Sonogram Technician Class and Course Descriptions

Sonogram technicians use ultrasound machines (sound waves) to produce images of the human body. Courses in sonography are generally completed as part of a full degree program.

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Essential Information

Sonogram technicians may complete their training in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Most students choose to earn a 2-year associate's degree, although earning a bachelor's degree can lead to supervisory positions in the healthcare industry. There are also some certificate programs available for those who already work in the imaging field. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredits sonogram technician training programs throughout the country.

Sonogram technician programs prepare students to produce the images that are used to diagnosis injuries, illnesses and other medical conditions. Students in these programs study anatomy and physiology, and they learn to operate ultrasound equipment and interpret the resulting images. They usually also learn about specialty imaging, including those done on the heart, abdomen and pregnant women. Other common course topics include pathophysiology, ultrasound physics, medical terminology and patient care. Students in sonogram technician programs normally learn in a laboratory and complete several clinical practica to get hands-on practice.

While only a few states require licensure, professional certification may be needed to work as a sonogram technician because employers often prefer certified sonographers. There are specialty certifications available, and completing an accredited educational program is a prerequisite to taking such certification exams.

List of Sonogram Technician Classes

Some typical courses in a degree program in sonography are described below.

Anatomy and Physiology Course

An anatomy and physiology course introduces aspiring sonographers to the names and locations of body parts and organ systems. Topics of study include the respiratory, muscular, skeletal and integumentary (skin) systems. Students also learn the location of bones and muscles.

Sonographic Imaging and Instrumentation Course

An imaging and instrumentation course provides students with the know-how needed to operate ultrasound equipment. Students learn how to read and interpret sonographic images. This course is typically split into lecture and lab components. Topics covered also include Doppler technology, instrument quality control, image measurements and scanning techniques.

Obstetrics Imaging Course

Obstetrics is one of the most common medical uses of sonography. In an obstetrics imaging course, students learn how to read sonographic images and provide patients feedback on the images rendered. Students will learn formulas that will allow them to calculate fetus height, head circumference and uterus measurements based on the images provided by a sonogram.

Abdominal Sonography Course

An abdominal sonography course is delivered in half-lab, half-lecture format. Students learn how to recognize both normal and abnormal abdominal images. Students will learn when abdominal sonograms are necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. Topics of study may also include pathology, laboratory testing and scanning techniques specific to areas of the abdomen.

Clinical Course

In a clinical sonography course, students learn practical skills by observing and conducting sonograms on real patients. This sonogram tech class may take place in labs, hospitals, clinics or private medical offices. Students work with experienced sonogram technicians or physicians in order to further develop skills in pelvic, abdominal and vascular sonography.

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