Ultrasound technicians, also called sonographers, work in the health care industry to create diagnostic imagery using ultrasound machines. This technology uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of a patient's internal organs, muscles and other tissues. Physicians use these images to diagnose, treat and monitor a variety of medical conditions.
Only by completing a program accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) are students qualified to obtain credentials from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Two programs in South Carolina have CAAHEP accreditation.
After graduation, students should be prepared to take and pass their ARDMS certification exams, qualifying them for a career as an ultrasound technician.
Diagnostic medical sonography programs prepare graduates for their new career through a combination of technical training, general education courses and skills training in their chosen career. Skills taught include:
Course work includes both general education and classes specific to sonography, such as:
Students should also expect to spend at least 1,000 hours in clinical training, working in real-world medical environments and using real-world equipment.
ARDMS certification credentials are strongly encouraged, as they can improve employability and earning power. ARDMS offers four certification options:
Obtaining one of these credentials requires passing two exams: the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam, plus your chosen specialty exam. Specialty options include:
In addition to passing two exams for certification, you must submit a completed application for licensure, the appropriate fee, a Clinical Verification Form, and your transcripts. ARDMS returns incomplete applications but does not reimburse the application fee.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for South Carolina. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
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 and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary