A sonographer, also referred to as a diagnostic medical sonographer, ultrasound technician or ultrasonographer, uses special equipment to direct sound waves (sonography) or high-frequency sounds-waves (ultrasonography) into an area or areas of a patient's body. The equipment gathers the reflected ultrasound "echoes" to create images of various parts of the body. These images are then viewed by a physician, who uses them to diagnose and treat medical conditions or illnesses in patients.

Sonographers picture    Sonographers image

Sonography and Ultrasound Technician Schools

With an associate or bachelor's degree from one of the sonographer schools, you could be well-prepared to work toward certification, including in a specialty field such as pediatric sonography, musculoskeletal sonography, midwife sonography or another area. This can be an advantage since health insurance providers might only pay for work if it is performed by a certified technician, reports the BLS. You can also find certificate-based programs. Some of the sonographer training schools available across the country include:

  • Bellevue College: This school, in Bellevue, Wash., offers both an associate of arts degree in diagnostic ultrasound technology and a certificate of completion in breast ultrasound. The AA program has specialty tracks including general, vascular technology, and echocardiography.
  • John Hopkins Medicine: This private career school, in Baltimore, Md., offers a full-time 14-month program in cardiac sonography that starts in July and continues through August of the following year. Students should be able to sit for certification upon completion and the school has a high job-placement rate.
  • Thomas Jefferson University: At this school, located in Philadelphia, you can complete a program in general ultrasound sonography as part of an area of concentration in the bachelor's degree programs available through the school's Department of Radiologic Sciences. Students in a bachelor's of science degree program also can pursue a dual concentration.
  • Red Rocks Community College: The sonography program at this community college can be completed in five semesters, or 21 months of education, and is located on its Arvada, Colo. campus. In the final semester of their programs, students can choose between either a certificate of completion or an associate of applied science degree.

Ultrasound Technician Education Requirements

The two most common paths for entry into the field, according to the BLS, are: 

  1. Associate degree in sonography
  2. Bachelor's degree in sonography

However, other options for ultrasound training in this profession do exist in hospitals, but are generally only available to those already in related work. Licensing is not a requirement is most states, according to the BLS, but the few states that do have it typically require certification as part of that process.

Certification for sonographers and ultrasound technicians can be sought through an organizations such as:

  • The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART)
  • The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. (ARDMS)

Sonography and Ultrasound Courses

Any degree program should enable students to obtain knowledge in the applied sciences, anatomy and medical terminology, but students will also learn how to use related medical equipment and even to work with patients. Below is a list of some of classes that could be taken as part of an ultrasound technician program.

  • Abdominal Ultrasound Technologies
  • Cardiovascular Principles
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Echocardiography
  • General Sonography
  • Human Anatomy
  • Imaging Peripheral Vascular System
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Obstetrician / Gynecologist (OB/GYN)
  • Patient Care
  • Pediatric Echocardiography
  • Ultrasound Concepts

Sonography and Ultrasound Specializations

Students in sonographer training programs typically learn about human anatomy, pathophysiology, ultrasound equipment and more. They may be able to choose general learning and/or complete their study in a specialty area of concentration.

  • Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography (Ob/Gyn): Focused on the female reproductive system, this discipline is most commonly known for the examination and monitoring of the fetus, or fetuses, in pregnant women.
  • Abdominal Sonography: This discipline specializes in the abdominal cavity of a patient to help diagnose or treat conditions or illnesses that relate to the kidneys, liver, bile ducts, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas or the male reproductive system.
  • Neurosonography: This area focuses on the nervous system and brain, and uses a transducer, which is the device that receives signals in the form of a specific type of energy and modifies it into a signal of another form. However, the beam shapes and frequencies used in this discipline differ from those in obstetric and gynecologic sonography.
  • Breast Sonography: This type of sonography is used to monitor blood supply conditions and tumors in the breasts and assist in the accuracy of breast tissue biopsies. It also aids mammography in the detection of breast cancer. In this discipline, high-frequency transducers made exclusively for the study of breast tissue are used.

Resources for Sonographers

  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM)
  • American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)
  • Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS)
  • How to Become an Ultrasound Technician


  1. Benefits of Certification, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. No date. http://www.ardms.org/Discover-ARDMS/benefits-of-certification/Pages/Benefits-of-Certification.aspx
  2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292032.htm
  3. Initial Sonography Certification and Registration. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. https://www.arrt.org/certification/sonography
  4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-6
  5. ARDMS, American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc. http://www.ardms.org/Pages/default.aspx
  6. Diagnostic Ultrasound. Bellevue College. https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/programs/degrees/proftech/dutec/
  7. Heart and Vascular Institute, John Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/education/cardiac_sonography_training.html
  8. General Sonography. Thomas Jefferson University. http://www.jefferson.edu/university/health-professions/departments/radiologic-sciences/degrees-programs/bs-programs/concentrations/general-sonography.html
  9. Sonography (Ultrasound) Program. Red Rocks Community College. http://www.rrcc.edu/sonography

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 1,660 $85,160
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 1,650 $62,080
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1,590 $84,870
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 1,310 $76,730
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 1,150 $78,600
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 1,100 $63,060
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 980 $111,940
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 910 $65,910
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 810 $71,170
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford 720 $64,640

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Sonographers

Use our handy tool to see what employment and salary numbers look like for two different metro areas

Select State
Select Metro Area 1
Select Metro Area 2

Total employment and salary for professions similar to sonographers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

To find out more about building a career as Sonographers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 29,310 59% $61,890
Medical Office 18,150 37% $61,660
Education 590 1% $64,080
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
Results:  9
Matching School Ads
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • Degree - Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • X-Ray Technician/Back Office Medical Assistant
  • Offers accelerated programs w/ flexible schedules & professional instruction
  • Multiple accredited campuses across 9 states including CA, TX, NV, & PA
  • 10 + programs including Practical Nursing, Dental and Medical Assisting
  • Provides professional development training & career planning resources
  • Military Student Center (MSC) is committed to the success of military students
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

Mason is committed to creating a more just, free and prosperous world. Located in one of the most important political, economic and intellectual hubs in the world, we accept our responsibility to serve others: to help our students succeed, enrich the life of our community, and contribute to solving some of the most complex global problems of our time.

  • Master of Science - Health Informatics
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • A celebrated educational institution focusing on Health Sciences
  • Offering Online Bachelor's & Master's degrees
  • Logan University is HLC & CCE accredited
  • Associate of Science in Surgical Technology

Trade schools in Los Angeles are built on a solid foundation of academic experience, especially Advanced College in South Gate. The founders of Advanced College have 40 years of experience when they opened their own institute of higher learning in 1999, which means Advanced College was student-oriented from day one. Our reputation as a leading vocational nursing & Allied Health school in Los Angeles is well-established, but that is just the beginning. Our expansive South Gate Campus has grown in our time as a school in order to make room for our daily operations. However, our expansion goes beyond the boundaries of our walls.

camnpus icon
South Gate
Request Info
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • A private Catholic & Jesuit institution delivering a transformative education
  • Scranton U has earned accreditation from 17 different accrediting agencies
  • Lovely 58 acre campus situated off Interstate 81 in PA’s Pocono Northeast region
  • 88% of  faculty hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their fields
  • 2017-18 first-year students got $30 million + in financial aid & scholarships
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a 2014-2015 College of Distinction.
  • Average class size of 20, with a student teacher ratio of 10:1.
  • Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Diverse campus life with over 80 student organizations, including Greek-letter societies and academic honor societies.
  • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (MSN)
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top