Having in mind that the field of medical imaging is growing rapidly, the number of people who get interested in this kind of education and profession is increasing.
Before you determine whether this career is for you, you should take a look at the responsibilities it carries.
A sonography degree prepares you for a variety of job functions from introducing future parents to the first look at their baby to identifying abnormalities, such as tumors, growing inside a patient’s organs and you will need to be able to take the image, read it and explain to the patient what is going on inside his/her body.
You will have to possess both technical and communication skills, a lot of patience and empathy.
If you think this is manageable for you, there are no reasons why not to pursue the education that will lead you towards a sonography career.
Furthermore, Virginia is among the top states for the employment of ultrasound technicians, making it a perfect choice to attend one of its sonography schools and start your journey towards this stable and satisfactory career.
Researching the career to find a program to attend in your area and gathering the information you need should be your first step, and we have already done it for you.
We have made a list of the accredited sonography programs and all the data related to what you can expect upon finishing your studies, such as employment opportunities, salary, certification, and additional education.
Accredited Ultrasound Technician Schools in Virginia
In gaining sonography education it is important to attend schools that have CAAHEP accreditation, as this accreditation proves the fact that the school really reached the highest standards of education provided to its students.
This is the most important factor to keep in mind when searching for a sonography program.
The most widely recognized accrediting agency in sonography is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and if you finish the program accredited by it, you will become qualified to sit for the certification exam given by the ARDMS.
Plus, upon acceptance into this program, you are also eligible to apply for the UltrasoundSchoolsInfo semi-annual scholarship to help you pay the educational expenses.
These are schools accredited by the CAAHEP in Virginia:
- Northern Virginia Community College – 6699 Springfield Center Drive Springfield, VA 22150
- Piedmont Virginia Community College – 501 College Drive Charlottesville, VA 22902
- Southside College of Health Sciences – 430 Clairmont Ct, Suite 200 Colonial Heights, VA 23834
- Tidewater Community College – 1700 College Crescent Virginia Beach, VA 23453
How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia?
This depends on the level of education you want to reach:
- Certificate Program – takes approximately 1 year and it prepares students for entry-level sonography positions
- Associate Degree – takes approximately 2 years and prepares students to become practicing sonographers
- Bachelor’s Degree – takes approximately 4 years and graduation makes students prepared to become a practicing sonographer and may provide them with more job opportunities due to the additional length of education and specialty training.
Ultrasound Tech Certification Requirements in Virginia
Getting a certification or licensure of allied health professionals is a good choice, as this is a kind of demonstration of the proficiency and knowledge you possess.
The most common certification agency is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Statewide licensure is not required by the state of Virginia, but you may encounter that many employers do require professional certification.
You will need to meet the educational requirements for Ultrasound Technician Certification, that is, taking and passing their Sonography Principals and Instrumentation (SPI) exam after you have finished the accredited program.
There are many locations throughout Virginia to take the exam, and the best way to inform yourself about the requirements and location addresses is by calling the testing company Pearson Vue at 1-877-258-9220.
The easiest way to qualify to sit for the exam is to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is the most common occurrence.
Otherwise, you will need 12 months of full-time clinical experience and this is hard to reach as you do not possess the certificate and it is required by many employers.
Once you are ready to apply for an ARDMS examination, you should log in to MY ARDMS and choose Apply Online.
Then, you need to complete the online application form and submit payment.
The required supporting documentation must be submitted within 21 days of applying online by uploading it into your MY ARDMS account.
Documentation required with the application is:
- Copy of an official transcript from a two-year allied health education program with a state-specific number of credits.
- Copy of education program certificate, certification, or license.
- Letter from a supervising physician, ARDMS-Registered sonographer/technologist, or the educational program director indicating a minimum of 12 months of full-time clinical/ vascular experience.
- Signed and completed clinical verification (CV) form for each appropriate specialty area(s)
- Copy of non-expired government-issued photo identification (ID) with signature
Ultrasound Techs Salary And Job Outlook In Virginia
Virginia, as well as many other USA states, is experiencing an increasing need for medical help and support, causing the constant need for qualified, medically trained personnel.
This situation provides a secure job outlook for graduates of ultrasound technician schools and new jobs are being forecasted in the years to come.
The average salary for sonographers in Virginia is $92119 according to the BLS.
However, you should know that many factors may influence your salary.
Higher education typically leads to a higher salary.
Actually, those sonographers who hold a Bachelor’s Degree can expect to earn higher salaries than those holding Associate’s or just a certificate.
You can improve your salary potential by becoming a certified technician, as they often make more than those who do not have a license.
The place where you start working and the city it is located in also affects wages.
Outpatient care centers offer the highest salaries, while general and surgical hospitals employ the most sonographers.
Being that there are many different roles in medical imaging, there are various average salaries that you may expect, and they may vary among the major cities in Virginia as presented in the table below.
When the career growth for diagnostic medical sonographers in Virginia is in question, it is expected to be on par with the rest of the country, predicted to be 32% in the next decade.
Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia