Ultrasound technicians (also known as sonographers) play a key role in Alabama's modern medical landscape. Thanks to their knowledge of the human body and proficiency with ultrasound machines, they can report on anything from the health of a baby in the womb to the presence of a tumor in the heart.
If you've always liked helping people and enjoy working with technology, a career as a sonographer could be a great fit. To help begin your search, let's review your options for sonography schools in Alabama.
Alabama Ultrasound Technician Schools
There are a number of factors students should consider when deciding where to pursue an education in sonography. The five options below are all accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is an essential component.
- H. Council Trenholm State Technical College: If accepted, you'll be among roughly 15 students during this four-semester program (about 17.5 months).
- Institute of Ultrasound Diagnostics: With a motto of "Study hard and play hard, too", this school boasts plenty of one-on-one attention from instructors as well as special sessions meant to develop a student's interpretative skills.
- Lurleen B Wallace Community College: Their DMS (Diagnostic Medical Sonography) track is a two-year program that concludes with students receiving an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.
- Virginia College at Birmingham: This program is also accredited by the ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools). It lasts 24 months and rewards students with an associate degree in DMS.
- Wallace State Community College: To complete this Associate in Applied Science program, students will go through six semesters of coursework for a total of 17 months. Each class contains about 25 students.
Upon graduation from an accredited sonography program, many students go on to seek certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
What to Expect from Alabama Sonography Programs
Ultrasound technician schools in Alabama each offer something slightly different. That's why it's important to thoroughly research the above five options before enrolling. However, the majority will give you hands-on experience with today's latest sonography machines. Many also offer the chance to work with actual patients, or even partake in an internship at a local health care facility.
While curriculum will vary by program, common course topics at the associate degree level include:
- Doppler Physics
- Clinical-Diagnostic Sonography
- Vascular Technology
The classes you take while in school also depend on the specialization you pursue. Many programs offer students the choice between general, cardiac, or vascular sonography tracks, while others have even more specific specialties available.
Alabama Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
Alabama does not require practicing ultrasound technicians to hold any particular kind of license. However, most professionals obtain certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) prior to finding employment. In fact, some employers in the state will only consider applicants who have been certified by this organization.
If you graduated from one of the above schools, you should have no problem meeting the requirements and prerequisites for certification. Still, keep in mind the five-year rule. In short, it gives you five years to complete all the exams required for certification in your particular specialty. You can choose the sequence; just make sure it doesn't take longer than five years.
Resources for Ultrasound Technicians in Alabama
Fortunately, becoming certified by ARDMS is fairly straightforward. Their website includes helpful resources like:
The ARDMS website also contains a wealth of educational articles and job information for both prospective sonography students and professional ultrasound technicians.