The Path to a Career in Sonography
Are you interested in a career in healthcare, yet not looking to follow the traditional doctor or nurse career path? One option might be to pursue a career in sonography. As a sonographer, you provide individualized care to a wide range of people. As a member of a healthcare team, you work closely with others in the medical field, including doctors and nurses. And, you use high-tech equipment to produce and interpret images from inside of the human body1.
To become a sonographer, you usually need to complete a formal education program, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Professional certification can also increase your chances of finding a job in the field. After you’ve started a career as a sonographer, you will most likely need to complete continuing education courses to maintain your licensure. To advance in the field, you might pursue additional degrees or certifications.
Learn more about what you can expect along the path to a career in sonography.
Understanding What Sonographers Do
Sonographers operate imaging equipment that produces pictures of the body’s internal organs. The equipment uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of what is going on internally.
To capture the images, the sonographer uses a transducer, which is placed on the area of the body that’s being imaged. The device sends pulses of soundwaves into the body, which create echoes as they bounce back. The echoes are sent into the ultrasound machine, which transforms them into the images a doctor can use to diagnose a patient.
Sonographers often specialize in one or more areas2:
- Female reproductive system (OB/GYN)
How to Get Started on the Path to a Career in Sonography
If you don’t have any experience in sonography, but would like to pursue a career in this field, it’s good to know your options.
The best option is to pursue an associate degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from an institution that has accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs3 (CAAHEP). The program should include a combination of classroom hours and experience in a clinical setting.
Once you’ve earned your associate degree, the next step is to take and pass a credentialing examination from an organization such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
After obtaining your credentials, a wide range of job opportunities are available to you. Places of employment right out of school include hospitals, outpatient imaging centers, physician offices, such as cardiovascular or OB-GYN, and stand-alone emergency clinics. Some of these jobs may be specific to the type of credentials you’ve obtained. For example, if you hold credentials in cardiovascular sonography, then working at a vascular imaging center or cardiologist office would be an ideal fit.
How to Advance Along the Sonography Career Path
If you’re already working as a licensed diagnostic medical sonographer, you might be wondering what path you can take to advance your career.
If you have an associate degree, the next step to take if you’re looking to move up the career ladder is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
AHU Online’s Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is designed for certified or credentialed sonographers who are looking to gain a competitive edge. The program is open to students with an associate degree, students who are pursuing an associate degree concurrently, or to licensed sonographers without an associate degree who would complete bridge courses.