Ultrasound Technology Associates Degree Programs
Ultrasound technology, which is also known as diagnostic medical sonography, is the practice of using high frequency sound waves to create images of structures, organs and blood flow within the body. Ultrasound technology associate's degree programs prepare students for entry-level employment in the field.
Associate's Degree in Ultrasound Technology
Associate's degree programs in ultrasound technology provide students with the training necessary to begin careers as ultrasound technologists or diagnostic medical sonographers. Students work in classrooms, laboratories and clinical settings, often completing internships or practical experiences to gain hands-on education with the equipment that is used in the field. In preparation for possible career fields, programs often include both broad or specialized study in obstetrics and gynecology, abdomen, vascular technology and fetal echocardiography.
Ultrasound technology associate's degree programs are generally found at 2-year technical and community colleges. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some programs require students to complete prerequisite coursework in relevant fields, including physics, biology and algebra. ACT or SAT scores are typically not required.
Courses in ultrasound technology associate degree programs introduce the concepts of the field and survey the skills necessary for careers in patient care.
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Introduction to patient care
- Principles of ultrasound technology
- Sonography for the OB/GYN
- Introduction to vascular sonography
- Sonography for the abdomen
- Circulatory system sonography
- Medical ethics and law in sonography
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings in the field of ultrasound technology were expected to grow 44% between 2010 and 2020. Some of the expected growth will result from patients choosing sonography over radiologic procedures, since sonography does not employ radiation and is therefore seen as safer. As of 2012, the median annual earnings in the field were $65,860, with the lowest ten percent earning under $45,000 and the top ten percent earning over $90,000.
Continuing Education Information
To be registered as ultrasound technologists, graduates must pass the American Registry in Diagnostic Medical Sonography exam. This exam is available in different specializations. Students may also go on to pursue bachelor's degrees in ultrasound technology. Graduate programs, which are not common, are available as specializations within health science programs; most employers do not look for sonographers with graduate credentials.
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