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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Majors Overview March 8, 2014

The role of a diagnostic medical sonographer is to utilize ultrasound equipment to take images of internal organs for the purpose of diagnosis. A common path to a career as a sonographer is obtaining an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in diagnostic medical sonography.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Vocational schools and community colleges are among the institutions that offer most associate’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography through the continuing education or health sciences departments of such schools. Students should ensure that the program they enroll in carries accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or similar organization.

Students enrolled in a 2-year sonography degree program are introduced to rudimentary concepts of medical terminology, sectional anatomy and anatomy and physiology. Then, they are taught about operating sonography equipment in clinical and laboratory settings. Students who graduate from an associate’s degree program in sonography can expect to be adequately trained to take exams related to obstetric sonography, abdominal sonography and echocardiography.

Education Requirements

Students are expected to complete rudimentary college-level courses in communication, anatomy and biology, before they can enroll in an associate’s degree program. Applicants for admission are required to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma with strong grades in math, chemistry and biology.

Coursework

Coursework associate’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography focuses on both clinical and theoretical instruction courses that may include topic areas such as:

•Abdominal sonography
•Clinical practicum
•Echocardiography
•Cardiovascular sonography
•Anatomy and physiology
•Introduction to health care
•Sonographic physics
•Obstetrical sonography

Job and Wage Outlook

There are various kinds of diagnostic medical sonographers, such as abdominal sonographers, neurosonographers and gynecologic sonographers. In 2012, there were about 110,400 diagnostic sonographers employed in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Most of them were employed in diagnostic labs, physicians’ offices and surgical and general hospitals. In 2012, sonographers earned an average annual wage of $60,350.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers the registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS) credential for the benefit of graduates who seek professional certification. Sonographers are also allowed by the ARDMS to gain certification in a specific concentration within the field. Sonographers can pursue continued education by earning bachelor’s degrees and rise to assume management positions.

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