The very first step towards a new sonography career is actually the enrollment in ultrasound technician schools.
To make your research easier, we have gathered a list of ultrasound schools and all the necessary data related to this profession, so that you easily find out if it will meet your individual needs and interests prior to making a final decision.
Diagnostic medical sonographers are professionals who are well educated and trained on how to use sound waves to take images of the organs inside the body, so as to help physicians to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases, as well as monitor the progression of a pregnancy.
Most Ultrasound Technicians work in hospitals, in physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, medical laboratories, and government agencies, thus proving the fact that once you graduate, you do not need to worry about being employed.
Putting technical education aside, they need to possess other skills, as they spend long hours working on their feet and assisting with ill or disabled patients.
If you become a sonographer, you can expect to work evenings, overnight, and weekends, so if all these requirements seem manageable to you, you are an ideal candidate for this profession.
Accredited Ultrasound Technician Schools in West Virginia
There is a number of accredited Medical Imaging Schools in West Virginia offering a sonography program and it is difficult to choose one, but what we suggest is that you first get acquainted with programs, costs, and accreditation and only then determine which one is the best for you.
We always emphasize accreditation as the most important factors to consider when choosing your sonography program.
The most widely recognized accrediting agency for medical sonography is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and if a program has accreditation, it means that it is of the highest quality in the state.
Students, after graduation from a CAAHEP accredited sonography program, are automatically qualified to sit for the registration exam offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), as well as one of their specialty exams.
Each of these schools in West Virginia has met the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Accreditation Standards and Guidelines set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP):
- BridgeValley Community and Technical College – 2001 Union Carbide Drive South Charleston, WV 25303
- St. Mary’s Medical Center – 2900 First Ave Huntington, WV 25702
- United Hospital Center, Inc. – 327 Medical Park Drive Bridgeport, WV 26330
- West Virginia University Hospitals – PO Box 8062 Medical Center Drive Morgantown, WV 26506
Besides the enrollment requirements, another frequent concern of prospective sonographers is how long it takes to finish the studies.
You should know that most degree programs can be completed within two years if your aim is to earn an Associate’s Degree, but a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree that will allow you to advance your career and increase your salary, require more time and effort, so this advanced education can last longer and it can take approximately four years.
Ultrasound Tech Certification Requirements in West Virginia
Some people would be glad to know that this state does not currently require their diagnostic medical sonographers to carry a specific license or credential, but gaining one would not be a wrong move, as many states are starting to require licensure.
Additionally, more and more employers prefer or require professional certification, typically from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) when hiring new workers to make sure they have the best staff.
The applicants with a license will certainly be given preference and the ARDMS offers ultrasound certificates in Abdomen, Breast, Echocardiography, Neurosonology, OB/GYN, Vascular Technology, Musculoskeletal Sonography.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) administers tests in sonography and many of its related specialties that each applicant must pass to be awarded their certification.
There are two testing centers in West Virginia, plus many more in the surrounding area, and all the information about these locations can be found on the website of the administrator at https://home.pearsonvue.com/ardms.
The ARDMS also has several different prerequisites for taking their test, and the easiest way is to graduate from an accredited program.
Otherwise, you will need to possess 12 months of full-time clinical experience as a sonographer, which is not easily achieved being that you do not possess the certificate.
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 West Virginia
getting a degree makes you eligible to look for a satisfying job and a stable salary, but you need to know that many factors can influence your potential salary, from your level of education, the type of employer you work for, or the area you work in.
You can see in the table below some major cities across the state and the different average salaries for their sonographers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that sonographers in West Virginia earn a mean annual salary of $82110.
However, ultrasound technologists just entering the job market can expect the starting salary of $72714 while those at the top can reach over $94751 per year.
Major job growth in the health care industry is expected in West Virginia over the coming years, due to the fact that the aging population increases causing the greater demand for ultrasound technicians.
Employment growth for ultrasound techs is expected to be 20% in West Virginia by 2026.
Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Ultrasound Technicians in West Virginia