Diagnostic medical sonographers, also called ultrasound technicians, work under the supervision of physicians to help in the diagnosis of medical conditions. They may use ultrasonic imaging equipment in different kinds of environments, including hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices or other health care facilities. These technicians may be also be trained in specialized areas such as cardiac, vascular or obstetric sonography. Sonographers typically interact with patients during procedures, making good communications skills an important area of focus in sonography education programs.
Ultrasound Technician Schools in Washington
- Bellevue College: The diagnostic ultrasound program at this school culminates in an associate degree. Tracks that specialize in echocardiography ultrasound, vascular technology ultrasound and general ultrasound are available. A specialized certificate of completion in breast ultrasound is also available. Admission preference is given to applicants with a degree in an allied health field or who have complete prerequisite coursework.
- Seattle University: This four-year program results in a bachelor's degree in diagnostic ultrasound. Students spend two years on science and general education coursework, followed by two years of diagnostic ultrasound coursework. Participants complete the coursework in a prescribed order and in a predetermined time frame after admission to the program.
- Spokane Community College: The program at SCC awards graduates an associate of applied science degree in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS). Upon completion of the program, graduates are qualified to sit for professional accreditation exams. The completion of prerequisite coursework in science and health care is recommended, but not required, before acceptance into the program.
- Tacoma Community College: The program at TCC culminates in an associate of applied science degree with a concentration in DMS, and it is designed to be completed in approximately 21 months. Before acceptance into the program, applicants must have completed prerequisite courses in English composition, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, precalculus, physics and communications.
What to Expect from Sonography Schools in Washington
Diagnostic medical sonography programs require that participants have a thorough knowledge of basic science and technical areas, including:
Coursework in advanced mathematics, medical terminology, communications, and general education electives are generally required, in addition to coursework in sonographic technology.
Admission to sonography programs is usually selective, and many programs give preference to applicants who have completed prerequisite coursework before application or who already hold a degree or have professional experience in a related field.
Washington Ultrasound Technician License
Sonographers do not need to be licensed by the state of Washington to be able to practice there. They do, however, need to hold professional certification in order to qualify for jobs and to be allowed to practice in the state. The standard professional certification in the field is the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential. It is overseen by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), and it may only be obtained by applicants who have graduated from sonography programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
To obtain an RDMS certification, applicants must show evidence of having completed an accredited training program and having completed a supervised clinical internship, a component that is generally a part of an approved training program. Having met these qualifications, applicants may sit for certification exams, the successful completion of which will result in RDMS certification.
- Diagnostic Ultrasound, Bellevue College, http://www.bellevuecollege.edu/ultrasound/
- Diagnostic Ultrasound, Seattle University, https://www.seattleu.edu/scieng/ultrasound/programs-of-study/
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Spokane Community College, http://www.scc.spokane.edu/HealthSciences/AlliedHealth/DMS.aspx?page=PV5
- Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Tacoma Community College, http://www.tacomacc.edu/areasofstudy/careertraining/diagnosticmedicalsonography/