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Diagnostic medical sonographers, or ultrasound technicians, are responsible for the operation of sonography equipment under the supervision of a physician, to produce images for diagnostic purposes. They must differentiate between typical sonographic images and images that indicate abnormalities. Sonographers practice in a variety of clinical settings and may be trained in obstetric and gynecological sonography, cardiac sonography, vascular sonography or other specialty areas.

Ultrasound Technician Schools in California

A number of schools throughout the state offer either degree or certificate programs for those who are interested in a career as a ultrasound technician.

  • Orange Coast College: The OCC program culminates in an Associate in Science degree, and it requires four semesters and one summer session of coursework to complete. Applicants must complete prerequisite courses in biology, medical terminology, health occupations, math and general education before beginning the program.
  • Santa Barbara City College: The program this school awards graduates with a Certificate of Achievement, and it takes approximately 21 months to complete. Applicants must have completed an associate or bachelor's degree in a related health care field to be considered for admission.
  • UC San Diego: Graduates of this program are awarded a certificate from the UCSD Medical Center and are qualified to take professional certification exams. A 2-year or 4-year degree in a related field is a prerequisite.
  • Merced College: Like other Certificate of Achievement programs, the program at Merced College requires that applicants hold a degree in a related field, such as Radiologic Technology, Nuclear Medicine, or Registered Nursing.
  • Community Medical Centers: This 18-month program is hospital based and offers specialization in general, adult cardiac, pediatric cardiac and vascular sonography. It is a certificate program, and applicants must hold a degree to be considered for admission.
  • Cypress College: Applicants for the program at Cypress must either hold a degree prior to application or complete prerequisite courses in radiologic technology before beginning the sonography program. Preference in admission will be given to applicants with prior radiology experience.
  • Foothill College: The program at Foothill offers a Certificate of Achievement, and graduates may also earn an associate degree if they complete general education requirements during the program.
  • Loma Linda University: This program offers both a general/vascular sonography track and a cardiac sonography specialty track. Applicants must hold a degree and complete prerequisite courses before beginning the program.

What to Expect from Sonography Schools in California

Diagnostic medical sonography programs require participants to complete coursework in science, including biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry and physics. Applicants to programs that offer a Certificate of Achievement are generally required to have completed a degree in a related health care field and may be required to have completed prerequisite coursework before admission into the program.

Sonographers must also complete a supervised clinical internship; most programs include this component in their sonography curriculum.

California Ultrasound Technician License

Sonographers need not be licensed to work in the state of California, but sonographers must be certified as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), a credential administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), to practice in the state.

The certification process includes graduation from an accredited sonography program, followed by the successful completion of certification exams. Applicants must have graduated from an accredited sonography program in order to sit for the exams.

Resources

Sources:

  1. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Orange Coast College, http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/academics/divisions/consumer_health/allied_health/diagnostic_medical_sonography/Pages/default.aspx
  2. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Santa Barbara City College, http://www.sbcc.edu/sonography/
  3. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, UC San Diego, http://www.radtech.ucsd.edu/Rad2/Ultra.htm
  4. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Merced College, http://www.mccd.edu/academics/alliedhealth/diag-med/
  5. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Community Medical Centers, https://www.communitymedical.org/careers/Diagnostic-Sonography-Program
  6. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Cypress College, http://www.cypresscollege.edu/academics/academicPrograms/HealthScience/DiagnosticMedicalSonography/
  7. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Foothill College, http://www.foothill.edu/bio/programs/ultra/
  8. Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Loma Linda University, http://alliedhealth.llu.edu/academics/radiation-technology/degree-options/diagnostic-medical-sonography-dms
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Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Sonographers

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for California. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Sonographers

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Sonographers relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Bakersfield 140 $77,150
Chico 60 $74,060
Fresno 120 $84,520
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 430 $101,220
Salinas 50 $98,180
San Diego-Carlsbad 520 $90,430
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1590 $84,870
Modesto N/A $90,370
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura 70 $85,970
Redding 30 $91,450
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 480 $80,030
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 980 $111,940
Stockton-Lodi 70 $92,920
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 340 $107,090
Vallejo-Fairfield 160 $104,440
Visalia-Porterville 60 $74,050
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara 40 $91,760
Santa Rosa 70 $97,480

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