2024 Best Online Sonography Programs (2024)

What Is An Online Sonography Degree?

An online bachelor's degree in sonography equips students with the technical and clinical proficiency to excel in the field of ultrasound imaging. Sonography is used in many healthcare environments, including hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic imaging centers. Sonography degrees online offer students a solid foundation in anatomy, physiology, and the technical aspects of operating ultrasound equipment.

These programs typically cover a range of topics, including abdominal sonography, obstetric and gynecologic sonography, vascular sonography, and echocardiography. Students learn to interpret ultrasound images, communicate effectively with patients, and work collaboratively with healthcare professionals.

When choosing an online sonography program, it’s crucial to select one that’s accredited by a reputable accrediting body. Accreditation guarantees that the program meets rigorous quality standards and adequately equips graduates to enter the workforce. Additionally, accreditation is often a prerequisite for certification exams and licensure in many states.

OnlineU features only accredited online schools on its website.

If you prioritize low tuition in choosing a college, check out our page for the most affordable sonography bachelor's degrees.

How Long Does It Take To Get Sonography Degrees Online?

Typically, a bachelor's degree in sonography is designed to be completed in four years for full-time students. However, the flexibility of online programs allows for variations in the timeline, and many students take longer to graduate than they expect.

Some programs may offer accelerated degree options, allowing students to earn their degree in less time. This enables students to complete the program at a pace that better suits their needs and circ*mstances.

What Are the Specialties in Sonography?

Sonography offers a diverse range of specializations that cater to specific medical imaging needs. Here are some examples:

Abdominal Sonography

Students specialize in imaging abdominal organs, aiding in the diagnosis of conditions affecting the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and more.

Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography

This specialization involves imaging the female reproductive system, including pregnancies.

Vascular Sonography

This specialization focuses on imaging blood vessels, helping to identify conditions such as blood clots or vascular abnormalities.

Echocardiography

Students specialize in imaging the heart, providing critical insights into cardiac anatomy and function.

Musculoskeletal Sonography

Musculoskeletal sonographers focus on imaging muscles, tendons, and joints, aiding in the diagnosis of orthopedic conditions.

Common Courses

Online sonography programs offer a balanced blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience. Common courses in these programs typically include the following:

Anatomy and Physiology

This foundational course provides a comprehensive understanding of the human body's structure and function. Students delve into the workings of the body's organs and systems, developing an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

Medical Terminology

This course introduces students to the language used in medical practice, allowing them to effectively communicate with other medical professionals and patients.

Ultrasound Physics

This course covers topics such as wave mechanics, transducer technology, and the principles behind image formation, enabling students to utilize ultrasound technology.

Healthcare Ethics

In this course, students gain an understanding of the ethical principles and dilemmas that arise in the healthcare field. They learn to navigate complex ethical issues and make informed decisions that prioritize patient well-being and respect their autonomy.

What Careers Can I Get With a Sonography Bachelor's Degree?

As diagnostic medical sonographers, professionals with a sonography bachelor's degree play a pivotal role in patient care. They collaborate with physicians to develop ultrasound images of internal layoutsand interact with patients to explain procedures and ensure their comfort during the examination. Beyond diagnostic medical sonography, graduates with a sonography bachelor's degree may also consider specialized roles within the broader realm of medical imaging.

Here are some examples of career paths:

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Median Annual Salary:$78,210

Job Growth:10%

Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound equipment to capture images of the body's internal structures, helping physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Cardiovascular Technologists or Technicians

Median Annual Salary:$63,020

Job Growth:2-4%

Cardiovascular technicians run tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems and develop echocardiograms to assess heart conditions. They work closely with cardiologists to diagnose and treat patients with heart-related issues.

Radiologic Technologists

Median Annual Salary:$67,180

Job Growth:6%

While not exclusively focused on sonography, some graduates may pursue roles as radiologic technologists, utilizing X-rays and other equipment to create images of the body for diagnostic purposes.

Health Technicians

Median Annual Salary:$44,990

Job Growth:5-8%

Health technicians perform administrative functions in healthcare facilities, supporting medical operations and contributing to high-quality patient care.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Sonography Degree?

Professionals with a sonography bachelor's degree, particularly those working as diagnostic medical sonographers, can anticipate a competitive salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers is $78,210. Technicians and healthcare administration workers are likely to receive lower pay, but the job growth prospects remain promising.

If you are curious about pursuing a career in this field, check out the best online degrees in healthcare administration.

What Certifications Are Available and Required for Sonographers?

To become a certified sonographer, students must first complete an accredited two- to four-year program. Only four states require sonographers to be certified: New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon. However, many hospitals and clinics strongly prefer to hire certified sonographers.

Graduates of a sonography program can sit for an American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) licensure test in their specialty. Sonographers seeking certification must also pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Examination (SPI) within five years of earning their license. Below is a list of the available ARDMS credentials and the prerequisites required to earn the certifications.

Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)

The RDMS exam is designed for graduates of a diagnostic medical sonographer program. The exam is offered in the following specialty areas: abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatric sonography. To be eligible to sit for the RDMS exam, candidates must have completed either a 2-year degree in allied health AND one year of ultrasound/vascular experience OR graduated from an accredited program for diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography, or vascular technology.

Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)

Sonographers pursuing a cardiac specialty can take the RDCS exam. Specialties are offered in several areas, including adult echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, and pediatric echocardiography. To be eligible to sit for the RDCS exam, candidates must have completed either a 2-year degree in allied health AND have one year of ultrasound/vascular experience OR have graduated from an accredited program for diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography, or vascular technology.

Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT)

Sonographers can be certified in the vascular ultrasound specialty by passing the RVT exam. To be eligible to sit for the RVT exam, candidates must have completed either a 2-year degree in allied health AND have one year of ultrasound/vascular experience OR have graduated from an accredited program for diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography, or vascular technology.

Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS)

The RMSKS credential is intended for sonographers who want to specialize in musculoskeletal sonography. In order to take the exam, individuals must have an active medical credential or license and 150 hours of musculoskeletal sonography experience.

Midwife Sonography Certificate

The midwife sonography certificate is intended for individuals with an active Certified Midwife or Nurse-Certified Midwife certification. Candidates must complete a two-part examination that assesses their knowledge of the female reproductive system and the fetus in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Are Sonography Degrees Worth It?

A sonography degree can be a rewarding investment, offering the knowledge and skills needed for a fulfilling career in healthcare. The field offers promising opportunities for those passionate about diagnostic medical imaging, patient care, and making a meaningful impact on the healthcare landscape. Additionally, there are multiple specializations to choose from, and graduates can expect higher-than-average job growth in this field.

The decision to pursue this path, however, should involve weighing both the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • Strong earning potential

  • Growing job opportunities

  • Versatility and specialization

Cons

  • Intensive training requirements

  • Physical demands of the job

  • Emotional challenges in sensitive medical situations

  • Continued training due to the field’s evolving nature

What Professional Organizations Are Available for Sonography Professionals?

Sonography students and professionals have access to various professional organizations that advocate for education, research, and collaboration in the field:

  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) : Founded in 1970, the SDMS is the largest association of sonographers and sonography students worldwide. The organization’s mission is to promote the science of diagnostic medical sonography through education and advocacy.
  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) : AIUM has over 9,000 members, including students and professionals in the healthcare field. AIUM promotes the safe and effective use of ultrasounds through education, research, and guideline development.
  • American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) : The ASE offers membership tiers for students, professional sonographers, and other medical professions. The organization emphasizes education, research, and innovation in the field of cardiovascular sonography.
2024 Best Online Sonography Programs (2024)
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