Ultrasound technicians, also called sonographers, work in the health care industry to create diagnostic imagery using ultrasound machines. This technology uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of a patient's internal organs, muscles and other tissues. Physicians use these images to diagnose, treat and monitor a variety of medical conditions.
South Carolina Ultrasound Technician Schools
Only by completing a program accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) are students qualified to obtain credentials from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Two programs in South Carolina have CAAHEP accreditation.
- Greenville Technical College: This school offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. During the first phase of training, students focus on classroom work, including general education requirements such as English and Mathematics. Starting with the second phase, students concentrate fully on their core subjects, as well as begin clinical training. Graduates of the class of 2015 achieved a 100 percent success rate in passing their ARDMS exams.
- Horry Georgetown Technical College: Admission into HGTC's Diagnostic Medical Sonography program requires prospective candidates to meet stringent guidelines. Hopeful students must pass a criminal background check and drug screening, provide proof of CPR certification, and pay a nonrefundable tuition deposit as part of their admission application. Graduates of the class of 2015 had a 100 percent pass rate on their ARDMS exams; 88 percent found employment within six months of graduation.
After graduation, students should be prepared to take and pass their ARDMS certification exams, qualifying them for a career as an ultrasound technician.
What to Expect from South Carolina Sonography Programs
Diagnostic medical sonography programs prepare graduates for their new career through a combination of technical training, general education courses and skills training in their chosen career. Skills taught include:
- Providing quality patient care
- Technical proficiency using ultrasound technology
- Interpersonal communication
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
Course work includes both general education and classes specific to sonography, such as:
- Medical terminology
- Human anatomy
Students should also expect to spend at least 1,000 hours in clinical training, working in real-world medical environments and using real-world equipment.
South Carolina Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
ARDMS certification credentials are strongly encouraged, as they can improve employability and earning power. ARDMS offers four certification options:
- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer
- Registered Vascular Technologist
- Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer
Obtaining one of these credentials requires passing two exams: the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam, plus your chosen specialty exam. Specialty options include:
- Adult echocardiography
- Fetal echocardiography
- Musculoskeletal sonography
- Pediatric echocardiography
- Pediatric sonography
- Vascular technology
In addition to passing two exams for certification, you must submit a completed application for licensure, the appropriate fee, a Clinical Verification Form, and your transcripts. ARDMS returns incomplete applications but does not reimburse the application fee.
Resources for South Carolina Ultrasound Technicians
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm, accessed October 18, 2016
- CAAHEP Accredited Programs, CAAHEP, http://www.caahep.org/Find-An-Accredited-Program/, accessed October 18, 2016
- Get Certified, ARDMS, http://www.ardms.org/get-certified/Pages/default.aspx, accessed October 18, 2016