Ultrasound technicians, who are also commonly referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, are trained to operate sonography equipment for diagnostic procedures in clinical settings. Sonographers are responsible for understanding how to operate equipment in order to obtain the best possible images, which are used by physicians to diagnosis medical issues. Sonographers must also be able to differentiate between normal and abnormal sonography patterns, and they typically interact with patients during the procedures. Sonographers may be trained in specific specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology, cardiovascular sonography and musculoskeletal sonography.
Sonography Schools in Tennessee
Some ultrasound technician schools in Tennessee offer an associate degree program, upon completion of which graduates are qualified to take professional certification exams. These programs typically take two years or more to complete. Other programs offer a certificate option and are shorter in duration. These programs, however, are generally designed for applicants who already hold a degree in a related health care area and who already have experience in the field.
- Volunteer State Community College: VSCC's certificate program requires that applicants have both a health care degree and clinical experience. The program usually takes 13 months to complete.
- Methodist Healthcare: The certificate program at this school requires applicants to have earned a degree and to have experience in the field. The program offers two 15-month certificate options: General Ultrasound and Cardiac Ultrasound.
- South College: This school offers degree programs at two different levels, the Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
- Vanderbilt University: The certificate program at Vanderbilt's School of Medicine prepares its graduates for professional certification. It accepts applicants who hold related health care degrees, and it is a small, selective program, admitting only five students per year.
- Baptist College of Health Sciences: This program offers a four-year Bachelor of Health Science degree with a major in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
- Chattanooga State Community College: The Chattanooga State program is a certificate program. Applicants must already hold or be in the process of completing an accredited health care degree.
What to Expect from Tennessee Ultrasound Technician Schools
Participants in diagnostic medical sonography programs must have knowledge of basic science, including biology, chemistry and physics. Training in other biological science topics, including anatomy and physiology, is also required. Available space in programs is often limited, and admissions departments may require that students complete prerequisites before application to the program. Preference in admissions may also be given to applicants with prior training and experience.
In addition to general science and health care training, participants can expect to receive instruction in specialty technical areas, including:
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Cardiac sonography
- Vascular sonography
- Abdominal sonography
- Medical terminology
- Patient interaction
Accredited programs should also include a component that provides supervised clinical experience, a requirement for professional certification.
Tennessee Ultrasound Technician License
Tennessee doesn't require sonographers in the state to hold a government-issued license. However, in order to qualify for employment, sonographers must hold a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Sonographers may obtain RDMS certification by first successfully completing an accredited training program which includes a clinical internship period. Graduates of accredited programs are then qualified to sit for certification exams; the basic RDMS certification requires a passing grade in both a general exam and a specialization exam.
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Volunteer State Community College, http://www.volstate.edu/DMS/index.php
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Methodist Healthcare, http://www.methodisthealth.org/education/schools-of-radiologic-and-imaging-sciences/diagnostic-medical-sonography-program/
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, South College, http://www.southcollegetn.edu/academics/academic-programs/associate-in-sonography
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Vanderbilt University, https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/allied-health/DMS
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Baptist College of Health Sciences, https://www.bchs.edu/sonography
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Chattanooga State Community College, https://www.bchs.edu/sonography