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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Ultrasound

Majors Overview March 19, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in ultrasound and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and professional certification choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Ultrasound

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs are devised to make students adept at creating accurate records of anatomical and pathologic data aimed at aiding physicians in assessing and diagnosing medical conditions. The program includes imaging labs and internships, thereby allowing aspiring sonographers to obtain practical work experience in the performance of various procedures, including scans of the abdomen or a fetus.
Ultrasound students often select concentrations in cardiac sonography, vascular sonography, or obstetrics and gynecology. They may also opt for additional areas of specialization, such as breast sonography, neurosonography, or abdominal sonography.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to completing assessment tests. Prior to admission into the program, schools may also require applicants to satisfy science requirements. Some schools only admit individuals that already possess an associate’s degree in ultrasound.

Coursework

Coursework covers physiology and anatomy, in addition to safe usage of ultrasound equipment and machines. Also explored are current issues and professional standards in health care. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Medical genetics
•Diagnostic imaging
•Ultrasound instrumentation
•Sectional anatomy
•Topics in sonography

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers in:

•Medical labs
•Outpatient centers
•Private and public hospitals
•Physicians’ offices

Job and Wage Outlook

A much faster-than-average job growth rate has been predicted for diagnostic medical sonographers over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The optimistic projection is attributed to an aging population and expected increased demand for ultrasound imaging. In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $60,350 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Professional Certification Choices

While licensure is not mandatory for diagnostic medical sonographers, they can volunteer for professional certification in many areas, such as cardiac and vascular sonography. The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI), the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT), and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) are among the certifying organizations that offer certified credentials to these professionals. Graduates may also opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree in radiologic sciences.

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