Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers, are often associated with pregnancy.
The first time a mom-to-be sees a glimpse of her unborn baby is through an ultrasound.
As magical as that is, there’ is much more to the profession.
It will blow your mind to discover what you can see.
In addition to the reproductive system, an ultrasound tech is able to see into the body and get a closer image of the abdomen, prostate, heart, and blood vessels.
This vital information is then used by a doctor to make a diagnosis or put together a treatment plan.
If this sounds like the type of rewarding work you would like to get into, you found the right place!
By the end, you will know everything about becoming an ultrasound technician.
- What Courses Are in an Online Ultrasound Technician Training Program?
- Can You Earn an Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Completely Online?
- How Long Does it Take to Earn an Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Online?
- How Much Does an Online Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Cost?
- Benefits of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs
- Drawbacks of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs – Summary Table
- Types of Online Ultrasound Technician Certifications
- 4 Self-Study Tips for Online Ultrasound Technician Students
- Becoming a Certified Ultrasound Technician
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses Are in an Online Ultrasound Technician Training Program?
While each school may differ in course name and specifics, the overall programs will be sure to have you on the same level as other graduates across the US.
Here is a list of what you should expect to go over:
- Ultrasound Physics
- Ultrasound Scanning
- Abdominal Ultrasound Technique
- Essentials of Sonography
- Midwife Sonography
- Cardiac Sonography
- Human Anatomy
- Sectional Anatomy
- Fetal Echocardiography
- Adult Echocardiography
- Pediatric Echocardiography
- Obstetrics & Gynecology
Can You Earn an Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Completely Online?
While much of the program can be done online, there will be some requirements for on-site practice.
This would take place either in a clinic or a hospital.
In addition, there may be laboratory assignments that will also need to be done in person.
How Long Does it Take to Earn an Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Online?
You can expect to finish an ultrasound tech certification program in under two years.
Most students finish around the one-year mark.
How Much Does an Online Ultrasound Technician Program Certification Cost?
School costs vary, but for this program, you can expect to pay at least $105 per credit hour.
With programs running between 65 and 75 credits, you can expect to pay $8,000 or more to complete the program and be certified.
Benefits of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs
A lot can be done online
The great thing about the programs these days is how much you can do online.
That way, long before you are in the lab or in a hospital getting hands-on experience, you are committing the information to memory.
Studying from the comfort of your home
You can go over and over the equipment parts and terms from the comfort of your home before heading out and learning them in person.
Studying at your own pace
Most of the online programs do allow you to progress at your own pace.
That is helpful for students who are employed or have personal commitments that would make going to a facility on a schedule difficult.
Having to know in advance what labs are coming makes it easier to plan for the future.
Drawbacks of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs
Need to come in person for the labs
One big drawback of the online certification program is having to come in person for the labs.
To be fair, it would be hard to learn thoroughly without touching the equipment to gain experience, but it can deter those who were hoping to avoid having to go anywhere.
This is not a job that can be done remotely
Working online can make you comfortable with the job in a remote capacity.
Unfortunately, this is not really a job that can be done remotely.
It is important to remember the beauty of being a sonographer, which makes pushing through worth it.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Ultrasound Technician Training Programs|
|A lot can be done online||Need to come in person for the labs|
|Studying from the comfort of your home||This is not a job that can be done remotely|
|Studying at your own pace|
Types of Online Ultrasound Technician Certifications
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Getting this certificate under your belt means you have in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and patient care.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
To be able to sit for this exam, students must have graduated from a program and be approved for or are currently working in obstetrics.
This test is put together by the American Obstetrics Association.
Becoming a certified cardiac sonographer will require a year-long program that is focused on matters of the heart.
By the time you are done, you will practically know a heart like the back of your hand.
During the program, you will learn about anatomy, hemodynamics, disease processes, as well as patient treatment.
Pediatric Cardiac Sonography
Similar to cardiac sonography, an ultrasound tech would need to be familiar with imaging equipment in order to take specific representations of the heart.
The difference is that the hearts are smaller since you would be working in the pediatrics department.
Point of Care Ultrasound
This certification is for everyone in the medical field who does diagnostic tests that happen outside of laboratories.
This could include near-patient testing, using point of care devices, quality management, operator training, being compliant, and how to serve as a liaison between the labs.
Adding this certificate to your resume means you’re an expert on getting vascular ultrasounds.
Abdominal and Ophthalmologic Sonography
These are two very different areas on the body but still share a certification.
The abdominal would be the mid section and the ophthalmologic is about the eyes.
After you get certified in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, there are continuing education courses you can take that will lead to higher credentials.
- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)
- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)
- Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT)
- Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS)
- Registered Radiologist Assistant (RAA)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR)
- Mammography (M)
- Vascular Interventional Radiography (VI)
4 Self-Study Tips for Online Ultrasound Technician Students
1. Stay on Schedule
The best thing you can do, especially during an intensive study program, is to get a calendar or a planner.
When you get a syllabus for each class, go through it and jot down important dates on the calendar.
Do so in pencil in case the dates change.
Even when you are going through it at your own pace, you can put together a realistic schedule.
The more you have written down a plan, the more likely you are to stick to it.
2. Take a Breather
It can be hard to pace yourself when you’re eager to get through the course.
If you start out going full throttle, you might take the wind from your sails before you have had the chance to get hooked.
When you plan your study sessions, factor in enough time to get up and walk around or get a snack.
The last thing you need is to burn out when you have quite a bit of work to do.
Once burnout starts, it is tough to slow that train down.
3. Watch Videos
No, we do not mean cute kitten videos.
We are fortunate enough to live in a day and time where there is a video for just about everything online.
One way to jump-start a study session is to go look up a video on the topic and see what you get.
If you begin with footage of what you are going over, there might be tidbits from the viewing that you pick up.
A little extra learning can only benefit you.
The video will also get you more engaged in the topic.
4. Dedicated Space
A great way to stay locked in when you are learning complicated equipment is to have a safe space you can study in.
This is especially important if you find yourself easily distracted.
Another benefit of a study room is that you can control the noise coming into it, at least that is the hope.
Also, since this is your space, you can spread out.
If you need to pull out a bunch of papers or print out several sheets to make a body, you can do that.
Not everyone can have a room in their home to study in but that does not mean you cannot still find space for that purpose.
If you need to get out of the house, whether it be every day or every once in a while, your local community may be able to help.
From libraries to coffee shops, there are places you can go to study if you are looking for it.
Becoming a Certified Ultrasound Technician
Getting images of what’s going on inside someone’s body can be incredibly rewarding.
It is an important tool a doctor can use to analyze what’s happening with the symptoms of a patient.
Comforting patients and exercising patience with them can make such a difference in their care.
Putting aside a multitude of free time over the next year will be worth the sacrifice after taking an online ultrasound technician training program.
Not only is it incredibly convenient, but it is the open door to a whole new career in an ever-growing industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the salary for an ultrasound technician?
On average, a sonographer makes about $76,000 annually.
This is a general salary but there are different types of certifications with specialties.
If your focus is on something specific as opposed to ultrasounds in general, the pay could be less.
Of course, it also depends on location and type of setting.
What are the required exams to get certified?
This is about the basics of sonography and how to use instruments.
This is really the first step towards domination of the field.
Without passing this exam, you cannot move on to any other specialties.
This test can be taken from anywhere on the internet.
If you have trouble and don’t pass, you can try again after 60 days.
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists test has a number of disciplines to choose from, so when you register make sure it’s for sonography.
What this exam is looking for is your fundamental knowledge as an ultrasound technician.
The ARRT exam can be taken up to three times within three years.
Becoming a Registered Cardiac Sonographer will require passing this test.
To get to this level, you will already have needed to pass the ARDMS SPI.
To get a seat, you’ll have to apply early.
There are only two date ranges a year when the test can be taken, February and August.
Are ultrasound techs in demand?
The need for professionals who can get internal images is high.
Whether you are working at a hospital or clinic, ultrasounds are done quite frequently.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed a projection of a 23% increase in the field that has been going on for the past few years and is expected through 2026.
Compared to the national average of new jobs, this is a massive increase for ultrasound techs.
After becoming certified as an ultrasound tech, what other educational options are there?
Getting certified is a great way to get your foot in the door in the medical field.
It is a specialty that has good job prospects and security.
One downfall of stopping at a certificate is being unable to advance as easily. Sure, there are still places that will hire you with the one certification but to advance your pay, it might be beneficial to keep going.
Otherwise, you can keep getting various certifications in the ultrasound specialties.
That might get expensive, though.
The next step up would be to get an associate’s degree in sonography.
Having a degree means you have had more in your studies than sonography alone.
More and more employers are requiring degrees, whether or not it makes you more knowledgeable about the subject at hand.
If you decide to take it even further and get a bachelor’s degree, you should already have experience as a technician as well as an associate’s degree.
Here, instead of getting multiple certificates, you can choose a specialty as part of the degree plan.
Part of the schooling will likely include management.
This might be a great decision after you have been an ultrasound tech for a while and are trying to pivot your career to teaching the skill or moving up into department director or something similar.