Sometimes called sonographers, ultrasound technicians work with doctors and other health care professionals. Using an ultrasound machine, they creates images of a patient's internal organs, tissues, and other structures. These images can be used to treat, diagnose, and monitor a variety of medical conditions, including pregnancy, heart disease, and cancer.
West Virginia Ultrasound Technician Schools
In order to attain certification credentials from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), you must complete a training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). West Virginia offers three such programs:
- United Hospital Center: UHC in Bridgeport offers a Diagnostic Medical Sonography certificate program. Prerequisites include completion of an accredited radiologic technology program, as well as RT credentials with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Since 2010, 19 students have enrolled in, and graduated from, the program, with 100 percent of them earning ARDMS credentials.
- University of Charleston: This school offers two degree programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography: an Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Science. Students spend a minimum of 1,000 hours in a clinical/hospital setting, and graduate prepared to seek ARDMS certification. Each 2015 graduate passed his or her examination and earned job placement.
- West Virginia University Hospitals: Located in Morgantown, this program also requires completion of an accredited radiologic technology program with RT credentials from ARRT. Students train using state-of-the-art equipment, including 3D and 4D imaging.
After graduating from a sonography program, the next step is obtaining ARDMS credentials to launch your career as an ultrasound technician.
What to Expect from West Virginia Sonography Programs
Completion of a sonography program helps prepare graduates to work with patients in a medical setting, acquiring skills such as:
- Communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking
- Proficiency using ultrasound technology
- Providing quality patient care
Students typically take some general education courses such as Math and English, but primarily concentrate on core courses in their sonography specialty. While specific curriculum will vary by program, most include instruction in the following areas:
- Medical terminology
- Diagnostic imaging
- Abdominal sonography
- Medical ethics and law
- Sonography principles and instrumentation
Typically, the second year is when students begin spending the majority of their time working in a clinical setting using real world equipment. This might take place on campus, or at a local health care facility. Some schools also offer internship opportunities, allowing students to finish their studies while working at an actual hospital or clinic.
West Virginia Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
While West Virginia does not require ultrasound technicians to be licensed, professionals are strongly encouraged to obtain ARDMS certification. Not only can this improve their earning potential, but it is also required by most facilities. ARDMS offers four credential options:
1) The Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) requires you to pass one of the following specialty exams:
- Fetal echocardiography
- Pediatric sonography
2) The Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) requires you to pass one of the following specialty exams:
- Adult echocardiography
- Fetal echocardiography
- Pediatric echocardiography
3) The Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) requires you to pass the following specialty exam:
4) The Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS) requires you to pass the following specialty exam:
- Musculoskeletal sonographer
To apply, submit a Clinical Verification Form, completed application, fee, and transcript. You must then pass your specialty exam, as well as the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam. Note that ARDMS returns all incomplete applications but does not reimburse the application fee.
Resources for West Virginia Ultrasound Technicians