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A sonographer, also referred to as a diagnostic medical sonographer, ultrasound technician or ultrasonographer, uses special equipment to direct sound waves (sonography) or high-frequency sounds-waves (ultrasonography) into an area or areas of a patient's body. The equipment gathers the reflected ultrasound "echoes" to create images of various parts of the body. These images are then viewed by a physician, who uses them to diagnose and treat medical conditions or illnesses in patients.

Sonographers picture    Sonographers image

Sonography and Ultrasound Technician Schools

With an associate or bachelor's degree from one of the sonographer schools, you could be well-prepared to work toward certification, including in a specialty field such as pediatric sonography, musculoskeletal sonography, midwife sonography or another area. This can be an advantage since health insurance providers might only pay for work if it is performed by a certified technician, reports the BLS. You can also find certificate-based programs. Some of the sonographer training schools available across the country include:

  • Bellevue College: This school, in Bellevue, Wash., offers both an associate of arts degree in diagnostic ultrasound technology and a certificate of completion in breast ultrasound. The AA program has specialty tracks including general, vascular technology, and echocardiography.
  • John Hopkins Medicine: This private career school, in Baltimore, Md., offers a full-time 14-month program in cardiac sonography that starts in July and continues through August of the following year. Students should be able to sit for certification upon completion and the school has a high job-placement rate.
  • Thomas Jefferson University: At this school, located in Philadelphia, you can complete a program in general ultrasound sonography as part of an area of concentration in the bachelor's degree programs available through the school's Department of Radiologic Sciences. Students in a bachelor's of science degree program also can pursue a dual concentration.
  • Red Rocks Community College: The sonography program at this community college can be completed in five semesters, or 21 months of education, and is located on its Arvada, Colo. campus. In the final semester of their programs, students can choose between either a certificate of completion or an associate of applied science degree.

Ultrasound Technician Education Requirements

The two most common paths for entry into the field, according to the BLS, are: 

  1. Associate degree in sonography
  2. Bachelor's degree in sonography

However, other options for ultrasound training in this profession do exist in hospitals, but are generally only available to those already in related work. Licensing is not a requirement is most states, according to the BLS, but the few states that do have it typically require certification as part of that process.

Certification for sonographers and ultrasound technicians can be sought through an organizations such as:

  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART)
  • The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. (ARDMS)

Sonography and Ultrasound Courses

Any degree program should enable students to obtain knowledge in the applied sciences, anatomy and medical terminology, but students will also learn how to use related medical equipment and even to work with patients. Below is a list of some of classes that could be taken as part of an ultrasound technician program.

  • Abdominal Ultrasound Technologies
  • Cardiovascular Principles
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Echocardiography
  • General Sonography
  • Human Anatomy
  • Imaging Peripheral Vascular System
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Obstetrician / Gynecologist (OB/GYN)
  • Patient Care
  • Pediatric Echocardiography
  • Ultrasound Concepts

Sonography and Ultrasound Specializations

Students in sonographer training programs typically learn about human anatomy, pathophysiology, ultrasound equipment and more. They may be able to choose general learning and/or complete their study in a specialty area of concentration.

  • Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography (Ob/Gyn): Focused on the female reproductive system, this discipline is most commonly known for the examination and monitoring of the fetus, or fetuses, in pregnant women.
  • Abdominal Sonography: This discipline specializes in the abdominal cavity of a patient to help diagnose or treat conditions or illnesses that relate to the kidneys, liver, bile ducts, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas or the male reproductive system.
  • Neurosonography: This area focuses on the nervous system and brain, and uses a transducer, which is the device that receives signals in the form of a specific type of energy and modifies it into a signal of another form. However, the beam shapes and frequencies used in this discipline differ from those in obstetric and gynecologic sonography.
  • Breast Sonography: This type of sonography is used to monitor blood supply conditions and tumors in the breasts and assist in the accuracy of breast tissue biopsies. It also aids mammography in the detection of breast cancer. In this discipline, high-frequency transducers made exclusively for the study of breast tissue are used.

Resources for Sonographers

  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM)
  • American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)
  • Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS)
  • How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Sources:

  1. Benefits of Certification, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. No date. http://www.ardms.org/Discover-ARDMS/benefits-of-certification/Pages/Benefits-of-Certification.aspx
  2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm
  3. Initial Sonography Certification and Registration. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. https://www.arrt.org/certification/sonography
  4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-6
  5. ARDMS, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. http://www.ardms.org/Pages/default.aspx
  6. Diagnostic Ultrasound. Bellevue College. https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/programs/degrees/proftech/dutec/
  7. Heart and Vascular Institute, John Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/education/cardiac_sonography_training.html
  8. General Sonography. Thomas Jefferson University. http://www.jefferson.edu/university/health-professions/departments/radiologic-sciences/degrees-programs/bs-programs/concentrations/general-sonography.html
  9. Sonography (Ultrasound) Program. Red Rocks Community College. http://www.rrcc.edu/sonography

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 310 $58,890
Birmingham 310 $58,890
Huntsville 140 $54,730
Mobile 100 $56,730
Montgomery 80 $47,100
Dothan 50 $48,660
Tuscaloosa 50 $55,720
Daphne 40 $41,560
Fairhope 40 $41,560
Foley 40 $41,560
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 60 $79,950
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 880 $84,340
Mesa 880 $84,340
Phoenix 880 $84,340
Tucson 110 $77,980
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 130 $58,830
North Little Rock 130 $58,830
Little Rock 130 $58,830
Jonesboro 40 $56,820
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 1550 $87,270
Los Angeles 1550 $87,270
Long Beach 1550 $87,270
San Francisco 870 $118,620
Hayward 870 $118,620
Oakland 870 $118,620
Ontario 460 $72,760
Riverside 460 $72,760
San Bernardino 460 $72,760
San Diego 460 $92,250
Carlsbad 460 $92,250
Arcade 370 $110,610
Roseville 370 $110,610
Arden 370 $110,610
Sacramento 370 $110,610
San Jose 270 $111,120
Sunnyvale 270 $111,120
Santa Clara 270 $111,120
Fairfield 130 $130,570
Vallejo 130 $130,570
Bakersfield 120 $78,200
Modesto 90 $94,620
Fresno 80 $91,470
Santa Rosa 70 $105,390
Lodi 60 $94,660
Stockton 60 $94,660
Ventura 60 $98,720
Thousand Oaks 60 $98,720
Oxnard 60 $98,720
Chico 50 $77,610
Salinas 50 $94,840
Santa Barbara 40 $88,220
Santa Maria 40 $88,220
Porterville 30 $86,330
Visalia 30 $86,330
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 520 $81,050
Aurora 520 $81,050
Denver 520 $81,050
Boulder 80 $80,320
Pueblo 40 $69,560
Fort Collins 40 $76,640
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 320 $74,170
East Hartford 320 $74,170
West Hartford 320 $74,170
Bridgeport 310 $64,750
Norwalk 310 $64,750
Stamford 310 $64,750
New Haven 210 $78,610
Waterbury 70 $70,950
Danbury 50 $79,230
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 1630 $62,490
Miami 1630 $62,490
Fort Lauderdale 1630 $62,490
Sanford 720 $62,700
Kissimmee 720 $62,700
Orlando 720 $62,700
Clearwater 610 $63,370
Tampa 610 $63,370
St. Petersburg 610 $63,370
Jacksonville 340 $60,520
Deltona 140 $63,010
Daytona Beach 140 $63,010
Ormond Beach 140 $63,010
Cape Coral 140 $71,690
Fort Myers 140 $71,690
Ferry Pass 130 $52,970
Pensacola 130 $52,970
Brent 130 $52,970
Winter Haven 130 $59,320
Lakeland 130 $59,320
Bradenton 120 $60,940
Sarasota 120 $60,940
North Port 120 $60,940
Palm Bay 110 $62,510
Melbourne 110 $62,510
Titusville 110 $62,510
Gainesville 90 $54,770
Port St. Lucie 90 $65,830
Ocala 70 $60,630
Marco Island 70 $70,820
Immokalee 70 $70,820
Naples 70 $70,820
Tallahassee 60 $67,260
Crestview 40 $55,020
Destin 40 $55,020
Fort Walton Beach 40 $55,020
Homosassa Springs 40 $58,470
Punta Gorda 40 $62,640
Sebastian 30 $53,190
Vero Beach 30 $53,190
Panama City N/A $50,990
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 870 $63,340
Atlanta 870 $63,340
Sandy Springs 870 $63,340
Savannah 70 $60,150
Clarke County 60 $60,410
Athens 60 $60,410
Macon 60 $64,570
Albany 30 $48,470
Valdosta 30 $53,470
Gainesville 30 $65,610
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 110 $86,840
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 180 $65,000
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rockford 100 $74,920
Springfield 70 $66,250
Peoria 70 $71,580
Urbana 60 $73,370
Champaign 60 $73,370
Marion N/A $55,640
Carbondale N/A $55,640
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 300 $68,260
Carmel 300 $68,260
Indianapolis 300 $68,260
Fort Wayne 70 $62,350
Goshen 60 $62,720
Elkhart 60 $62,720
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 190 $64,160
Des Moines 190 $64,160
Iowa City 80 $60,760
Cedar Rapids 50 $61,820
Dubuque 30 $60,490
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 130 $66,570
Topeka 60 $64,150
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 120 $61,460
Lexington 120 $61,460
Bowling Green N/A $59,870
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 180 $58,740
Metairie 170 $60,640
New Orleans 170 $60,640
Shreveport 80 $61,180
Bossier City 80 $61,180
Lafayette 70 $51,660
Houma 40 $56,980
Thibodaux 40 $56,980
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 120 $79,960
Portland 120 $79,960
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 670 $72,060
Columbia 670 $72,060
Baltimore 670 $72,060
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 80 $84,090
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 1140 $61,470
Detroit 1140 $61,470
Warren 1140 $61,470
Wyoming 380 $57,900
Grand Rapids 380 $57,900
Portage 80 N/A
Kalamazoo 80 N/A
Flint 80 $60,510
Saginaw 50 $53,430
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 230 $78,900
St. Cloud 60 $81,880
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 130 $64,110
Hattiesburg 70 $59,660
Pascagoula 70 $61,560
Biloxi 70 $61,560
Gulfport 70 $61,560
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 130 $60,420
Columbia 50 $63,860
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 50 $65,700
Missoula N/A $69,210
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 380 $75,620
Henderson 380 $75,620
Las Vegas 380 $75,620
Reno 50 $74,700
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 60 $80,380
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 120 $74,080
Hammonton 80 $69,390
Atlantic City 80 $69,390
Bridgeton 50 $77,440
Vineland 50 $77,440
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 220 $67,020
Las Cruces 50 $58,370
Santa Fe 30 $81,290
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 340 $68,510
Niagara Falls 230 $66,860
Buffalo 230 $66,860
Cheektowaga 230 $66,860
Syracuse 210 $71,160
Schenectady 200 $68,070
Troy 200 $68,070
Albany 200 $68,070
Rome 100 $72,460
Utica 100 $72,460
Binghamton 80 $64,600
Glens Falls 40 $71,850
Ithaca N/A $58,250
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 290 $65,170
Winston 200 $66,220
Salem 200 $66,220
Asheville 180 $66,260
Chapel Hill 180 $69,320
Durham 180 $69,320
Greensboro 160 $66,400
High Point 160 $66,400
Wilmington 80 $61,730
Greenville 70 $64,020
Fayetteville 50 $60,320
Lenoir 40 $56,060
Hickory 40 $56,060
Morganton 40 $56,060
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 40 $65,690
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 520 $62,800
Elyria 520 $62,800
Columbus 290 $62,470
Dayton 200 $63,500
Akron 180 $65,590
Toledo 160 $63,040
Massillon 70 $60,110
Canton 70 $60,110
Lima 40 $56,820
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 510 $65,460
Tulsa 190 $65,350
Lawton 30 $60,780
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 50 $84,320
Eugene 40 $83,070
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 530 $55,810
Harrisburg 140 $64,560
Carlisle 140 $64,560
Barre 110 $70,460
Hazleton 110 $70,460
Wilkes 110 $70,460
Scranton 110 $70,460
Hanover 90 $54,820
York 90 $54,820
Erie 50 $56,010
Reading N/A $58,400
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 230 $24,120
Carolina 230 $24,120
San Juan 230 $24,120
Ponce 30 $27,180
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 180 $57,850
Anderson 120 $64,360
Mauldin 120 $64,360
Greenville 120 $64,360
North Charleston 100 $63,690
Charleston 100 $63,690
Florence 60 $56,930
Spartanburg 50 $68,080
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 160 $57,510
Rapid City 130 $65,230
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Davidson 390 $64,280
Murfreesboro 390 $64,280
Franklin 390 $64,280
Nashville 390 $64,280
Knoxville 260 $58,240
Johnson City 70 $56,170
Jackson 60 $56,930
Cleveland 30 $64,050
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sugar Land 1290 $71,380
Houston 1290 $71,380
The Woodlands 1290 $71,380
Fort Worth 1180 $70,660
Dallas 1180 $70,660
Arlington 1180 $70,660
Austin 480 $69,310
Round Rock 480 $69,310
New Braunfels 450 $64,580
San Antonio 450 $64,580
Temple 120 $64,380
Killeen 120 $64,380
El Paso 100 $60,560
Mission 100 $67,500
Edinburg 100 $67,500
McAllen 100 $67,500
Lubbock 80 $61,250
Corpus Christi 70 $66,020
Amarillo 60 $64,450
Tyler 60 $64,780
Brownsville 50 $65,580
Harlingen 50 $65,580
College Station 30 $61,760
Bryan 30 $61,760
Port Arthur N/A $53,630
Beaumont N/A $53,630
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 270 $73,480
Provo 80 $72,540
Orem 80 $72,540
Ogden 70 $77,250
Clearfield 70 $77,250
St. George 50 $76,100
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 260 $67,450
Roanoke 80 $69,880
Charlottesville 70 $60,680
Lynchburg 40 $66,400
Christiansburg 30 $62,060
Radford 30 $62,060
Blacksburg 30 $62,060
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 780 $86,870
Tacoma 780 $86,870
Seattle 780 $86,870
Spokane Valley 110 $84,160
Spokane 110 $84,160
Bellingham 80 $89,210
Kennewick 70 $83,560
Richland 70 $83,560
Walla Walla 50 $65,180
Yakima 40 $77,130
Olympia 40 $83,030
Tumwater 40 $83,030
Bremerton 40 $83,130
Silverdale 40 $83,130
Wenatchee 40 $86,490
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 60 $55,200
Morgantown 60 $55,500
Beckley N/A $57,240
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 380 $81,370
Milwaukee 380 $81,370
Waukesha 380 $81,370
Green Bay 150 $70,310
Madison 110 $80,710
Wausau 70 $72,660
Eau Claire 40 $72,560
Appleton N/A $62,420

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

To find out more about building a career as Sonographers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 29,310 59% $61,890
Medical Office 18,150 37% $61,660
Education 590 1% $64,080
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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