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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Sonography

Majors Overview June 14, 2014

A safer alternative to x-rays is diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound), which is a type of non-invasive medical imaging. Associate degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography are suited for those with an interest in sonographical technologies.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs in Sonography

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in diagnostic medical sonography are trained to use high frequency sound wave equipment to scan a patient’s blood flow, tissues, and internal organs. Students can also focus on cardiovascular sonography, which specializes on blood vessels or the heart. Students enrolled in an associate degree program are also taught communication skills and proper patient care.

Education Requirements

Every community college or university may offer different prerequisite coursework; however, those seeking to earn an associate degree for sonography are usually expected to have completed general education courses in basic math, biology, and physics. Admission to the associate degree program could be competitive, and applicants with a high GPA related to prerequisite courses could be given preference.

Coursework

Coursework in these degree programs focuses on biology, anatomy, and practical training in using sonographic equipment. Coursework can vary by program and may include some of the following topic areas:

•Patient care
•Echocardiography
•Medical ethics
•Anatomy and physiology
•Medical terminology
•Ultrasound techniques
•Pathology

Career Choices

Graduates of an associate degree in diagnostic cardiovascular sonography or diagnostic medical sonography have the skills and knowledge needed for occupation in clinics or hospitals, though they can choose their specialization in accordance with their program of study. They can choose from various career choices:

•Cardiovascular technologist
•OB/GYN sonographer
•Vascular technologist
•General diagnostic medical sonographer
•Echocardiographers

Continuing Education and Professional Certification Choices

Although certification is not mandatory for these professionals to seek employment, diagnostic medical sonographers that have completed an associate degree program may seek professional certification to showcase their skills and experience in their field to potential employers.

Professional certification for specialized or general sonographers is provided by organizations such as the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical (ARDMS), among others. Requisite work experience and continuing education are necessary for candidates to be able to take the certification exam.

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