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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 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 360 $59,530
Birmingham 360 $59,530
Huntsville 150 $57,250
Mobile 110 $52,130
Montgomery 90 $48,030
Dothan 60 $48,790
Daphne 40 $51,270
Fairhope 40 $51,270
Foley 40 $51,270
Tuscaloosa 40 $55,980
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 50 $81,060
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 1150 $82,410
Scottsdale 1150 $82,410
Mesa 1150 $82,410
Tucson 150 $73,550
Yuma 40 $75,080
Prescott 40 $80,030
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 230 $62,190
North Little Rock 230 $62,190
Little Rock 230 $62,190
Jonesboro 50 $60,500
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 1590 $85,940
Long Beach 1590 $85,940
Los Angeles 1590 $85,940
Hayward 980 $116,900
San Francisco 980 $116,900
Oakland 980 $116,900
Carlsbad 520 $92,470
San Diego 520 $92,470
San Bernardino 480 $77,380
Riverside 480 $77,380
Ontario 480 $77,380
Arcade 430 $110,130
Arden 430 $110,130
Sacramento 430 $110,130
Roseville 430 $110,130
Sunnyvale 340 $109,610
Santa Clara 340 $109,610
San Jose 340 $109,610
Fairfield 160 $114,640
Vallejo 160 $114,640
Bakersfield 140 $74,270
Fresno 120 $83,020
Ventura 70 $85,820
Oxnard 70 $85,820
Thousand Oaks 70 $85,820
Stockton 70 $94,330
Lodi 70 $94,330
Santa Rosa 70 $101,690
Chico 60 $75,250
Porterville 60 $77,820
Visalia 60 $77,820
Salinas 50 $100,460
Santa Maria 40 $93,850
Santa Barbara 40 $93,850
Redding 30 $79,990
Modesto N/A $93,390
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 480 $80,570
Aurora 480 $80,570
Denver 480 $80,570
Colorado Springs 100 $81,780
Boulder 90 $83,600
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 330 $74,230
West Hartford 330 $74,230
Hartford 330 $74,230
Stamford 280 $68,350
Norwalk 280 $68,350
Bridgeport 280 $68,350
Waterbury 60 $76,080
Danbury 50 $78,310
New Haven N/A $81,390
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 1650 $61,570
Miami 1650 $61,570
Fort Lauderdale 1650 $61,570
Kissimmee 720 $64,520
Sanford 720 $64,520
Orlando 720 $64,520
Tampa 700 $64,870
Clearwater 700 $64,870
St. Petersburg 700 $64,870
Jacksonville 480 $60,130
Cape Coral 180 $70,350
Fort Myers 180 $70,350
Lakeland 150 $58,950
Winter Haven 150 $58,950
Pensacola 140 $52,980
Ferry Pass 140 $52,980
Brent 140 $52,980
Bradenton 140 $63,970
Sarasota 140 $63,970
North Port 140 $63,970
Palm Bay 120 $65,320
Melbourne 120 $65,320
Titusville 120 $65,320
Daytona Beach 100 $58,010
Deltona 100 $58,010
Ormond Beach 100 $58,010
Ocala 90 $58,790
Gainesville 90 $59,350
Naples 90 $74,830
Immokalee 90 $74,830
Marco Island 90 $74,830
Port St. Lucie 80 $63,400
Tallahassee 70 $66,660
Crestview 60 $56,430
Destin 60 $56,430
Fort Walton Beach 60 $56,430
Vero Beach 50 $56,330
Sebastian 50 $56,330
Panama City 40 $52,820
Sebring 30 $57,600
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 910 $65,120
Atlanta 910 $65,120
Roswell 910 $65,120
Macon 80 $61,250
Savannah 80 $61,570
Athens 60 $64,020
Clarke County 60 $64,020
Albany 40 $49,100
Rome 40 $60,300
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 120 $83,290
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 140 $71,330
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 90 $69,650
Peoria 90 $73,560
Rockford 90 $74,960
Carbondale 50 $60,640
Marion 50 $60,640
Urbana 50 $73,260
Champaign 50 $73,260
Bloomington 30 $68,660
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 280 $68,230
Anderson 280 $68,230
Carmel 280 $68,230
Fort Wayne 70 $62,850
Goshen 60 $62,690
Elkhart 60 $62,690
Columbus N/A $68,100
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Des Moines 220 $66,060
West Des Moines 220 $66,060
Iowa City 80 $61,770
Cedar Rapids 80 $63,760
Dubuque 70 $62,600
Cedar Falls 40 $62,900
Waterloo 40 $62,900
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 170 $68,160
Topeka 60 $65,370
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 140 $64,980
Lexington 140 $64,980
Bowling Green 40 $61,880
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 260 $54,610
Metairie 260 $54,610
Baton Rouge 200 $56,950
Lafayette 140 $55,340
Monroe 60 $45,650
Thibodaux 60 $51,850
Houma 60 $51,850
Bossier City N/A $55,290
Shreveport N/A $55,290
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 60 $68,120
Portland 60 $68,120
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 810 $70,790
Columbia 810 $70,790
Baltimore 810 $70,790
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 90 $85,900
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 1100 $62,970
Warren 1100 $62,970
Detroit 1100 $62,970
Wyoming 380 $59,000
Grand Rapids 380 $59,000
Ann Arbor 130 $63,390
Flint 130 $63,780
East Lansing 80 $60,110
Lansing 80 $60,110
Saginaw 40 $52,770
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 240 $79,950
St. Cloud 120 $78,400
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 150 $63,690
Hattiesburg 90 $59,020
Pascagoula 80 $62,590
Biloxi 80 $62,590
Gulfport 80 $62,590
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 130 $57,850
Columbia 50 $65,840
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 40 $66,510
Missoula 40 $70,780
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 620 $72,340
Henderson 620 $72,340
Las Vegas 620 $72,340
Reno 50 $78,080
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 50 $79,570
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 120 $73,560
Hammonton 70 $70,980
Atlantic City 70 $70,980
Bridgeton N/A $76,260
Vineland N/A $76,260
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 310 $68,130
Las Cruces 40 $62,620
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 370 $69,390
Cheektowaga 250 $67,300
Buffalo 250 $67,300
Niagara Falls 250 $67,300
Schenectady 220 $68,050
Albany 220 $68,050
Troy 220 $68,050
Syracuse 190 $69,780
Utica 100 $73,530
Rome 100 $73,530
Binghamton 60 $70,350
Glens Falls 40 $73,580
Ithaca N/A $61,280
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 240 $64,350
Asheville 180 $64,200
Salem 180 $64,620
Winston 180 $64,620
Chapel Hill 170 $70,230
Durham 170 $70,230
High Point 130 $68,820
Greensboro 130 $68,820
Greenville 60 $59,520
Fayetteville 40 $63,040
Lenoir 30 $57,710
Hickory 30 $57,710
Morganton 30 $57,710
Burlington N/A $36,140
Wilmington N/A $70,830
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 60 $65,310
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 480 $62,640
Elyria 480 $62,640
Columbus 220 $63,500
Dayton 210 $64,250
Toledo 160 $60,360
Akron 130 $67,190
Canton 60 $60,810
Massillon 60 $60,810
Springfield 40 $57,780
Lima N/A $59,480
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 530 $66,600
Tulsa 200 $66,640
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 60 $89,030
Eugene 50 $82,330
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 490 $56,020
York 110 $54,920
Hanover 110 $54,920
Harrisburg 110 $63,330
Carlisle 110 $63,330
Hazleton 110 $75,230
Barre 110 $75,230
Scranton 110 $75,230
Wilkes 110 $75,230
Erie 50 $57,430
Reading 40 $60,160
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Carolina 350 $21,910
Caguas 350 $21,910
San Juan 350 $21,910
Ponce 70 $32,290
Isabela N/A $26,690
Aguadilla N/A $26,690
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 180 $59,270
Anderson 120 $65,320
Mauldin 120 $65,320
Greenville 120 $65,320
Charleston 100 $64,890
North Charleston 100 $64,890
Spartanburg 50 $68,620
Florence 40 $64,380
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 180 $58,430
Rapid City 100 $60,460
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 420 $64,580
Murfreesboro 420 $64,580
Davidson 420 $64,580
Nashville 420 $64,580
Knoxville 320 $57,630
Johnson City 70 $57,720
Jackson 70 $58,940
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
The Woodlands 1660 $72,790
Houston 1660 $72,790
Sugar Land 1660 $72,790
Fort Worth 1310 $71,170
Arlington 1310 $71,170
Dallas 1310 $71,170
Austin 490 $72,420
Round Rock 490 $72,420
San Antonio 470 $67,470
New Braunfels 470 $67,470
Killeen 130 $67,260
Temple 130 $67,260
Mission 120 $68,260
McAllen 120 $68,260
Edinburg 120 $68,260
El Paso 110 $60,540
Beaumont 60 $63,170
Port Arthur 60 $63,170
Corpus Christi 60 $64,180
Tyler 60 $65,910
Amarillo 60 $67,200
Lubbock 40 $62,230
Waco 40 $65,010
Odessa 30 $66,950
Denison N/A $68,340
Sherman N/A $68,340
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 270 $75,640
Orem 80 $76,090
Provo 80 $76,090
Ogden 70 $76,970
Clearfield 70 $76,970
St. George 50 $80,360
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 280 $69,190
Charlottesville 80 $59,530
Roanoke 70 $71,970
Radford 40 $60,970
Blacksburg 40 $60,970
Christiansburg 40 $60,970
Lynchburg 40 $67,830
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 670 $89,710
Seattle 670 $89,710
Tacoma 670 $89,710
Spokane 170 $82,910
Spokane Valley 170 $82,910
Bellingham 100 $90,050
Kennewick 70 $88,460
Richland 70 $88,460
Walla Walla 60 $68,230
Yakima 50 $81,580
Tumwater 40 $82,710
Olympia 40 $82,710
Wenatchee 40 $88,300
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 70 $56,600
Morgantown 70 $60,790
Beckley 40 $56,840
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 390 $79,650
Waukesha 390 $79,650
Milwaukee 390 $79,650
Madison 170 $77,530
Green Bay 120 $66,690
Wausau 90 $74,310
Appleton 80 $63,360
Eau Claire 70 $77,420
Oshkosh 40 $79,000
Neenah 40 $79,000

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.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 29,310 59% $61,890
Medical Office 18,150 37% $61,660
Education 590 1% $64,080
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  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
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  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Alhambra
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  • Degree - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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Bakersfield
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  • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
  • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current.
  • Allows students to complete assignments on the go with its Blackboard Learn mobile app.
  • Gives online students live student support for technical or course questions.
  • Has campus locations in Florida as well as online learning programs.
Programs
  • Health Information Management
Kaplan University
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Programs
  • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (MSN)
South University, Online Programs
  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
  • Gives students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.

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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