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Ultrasound Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Find out how earning an ultrasound certificate can prepare you to get certified in the field. Get information on the curriculum, career prospects and salary of ultrasound technicians.

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Essential Information

Ultrasound certificate programs, also known as diagnostic medical sonography certificate programs, instruct students on how to use sound waves to conduct sonographic examinations, such as abdominal, neonatal, cardiac and vascular examinations. They can learn how to perform such tests through internships or other clinical opportunities.

After earning a certificate in ultrasound, individuals could be prepared for entry-level work as ultrasound technicians. They can also get certified as a sonographer by passing an examination. Depending on the program, earning a certificate could take 18 months to two years. Educational prerequisites may include possessing a bachelor's degree, completing an accredited health program or completing course prerequisites.

Program Coursework

Classes in a diagnostic medical sonography program teach students about acoustic physics, which is used to produce images. Individuals could have the chance to participate in internships, clinical training and service learning for hands-on experience. Other program coursework could include the following:

  • Sonography
  • Cardiac ultrasound
  • Sonographic physics
  • Ethics
  • Patient care
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Sonographic pathology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers could see an 18% employment increase between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than average when compared to other occupations (www.bls.gov). This increase was attributed to an aging population and the growing use of ultrasound technology.

According to PayScale.com, the majority of ultrasound technicians earned between $35,417 and $79,115, as of March 2012. In the same reporting period, the site indicated that most individuals with 1-4 years of experience earned $13.49-$32.37 an hour while the majority of technicians with 5-9 years of experience made $20.00-$35.18 per hour.

Continuing Education Information

After obtaining an ultrasound certificate, ultrasound technicians may choose to become Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (RDMS) through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). ARDMS offers RDMS certification in several specialization areas, such as the abdomen and nervous system. Applicants must pass examinations in order to become certified and complete continuing education courses in order to remain certified. Certification can aid individuals in advancing their careers and when applying for jobs.

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