Is it possible to enter a medical career without a Bachelor’s degree? The answer is yes! A career as an ultrasound technician or a medical sonographer is a rewarding experience. The United States Department of Labor projected that this job field is growing as high as 24% from now to 2024, which is much faster than many other job fields. Students only need an Associates in Sonography degree to garner an entry-level position as a sonographer. These special individuals learn how to operate ultrasound equipment to assist doctors with diagnosing patients in a variety of medical situations. They use the power of ultrasound waves to create images of internal organs, blood vessels, and fetuses. Perhaps the most common association with ultrasound technicians is the exciting opportunity to answer the big question… Is it a boy or a girl? They also perform important tasks like image kidney and heart conditions. They may even help doctors perform ultrasound tests in the emergency room during surgery.
What to Expect in the Sonography Field
If you are a quick study who is fascinated by medical settings and have strong empathetic skills, a career in sonography is a wonderful fit. It is helpful for sonographers to be adept at working with their hands and deliver excellent interpersonal and written communication. Ultrasound technicians experience plenty of joyous moments with their patients, though there may be times when they will work with critically ill patients in intense situations. They may come in contact with bodily fluids. Thus, a strong focused mindset is essential to succeed in this career. Sonography student curriculums are balanced with English and mathematical skills along with the study of extensive sonographic sciences.
Top 5 Associate in Sonography
|1||Pitt Community College||Winterville, North Carolina|
|2||Pensacola State College||Pensacola, Florida|
|3||Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College||Asheville, North Carolina|
|4||Johnston Community College||Smithfield, North Carolina|
|5||Bellevue College||Bellevue, Washington|
Some Associates in Sonography degrees follow a liberal arts track (AA), though most of them are an Associate in Science (AS). Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees are slightly different from an AS in the fact that they prepare the student to stay in the workforce after they graduate. These career-minded programs are usually meatier in coursework and hands-on lab applications. They typically run 80 credit hours or more, but when the student graduates, they are prepared to take the career exams and apply for a job right away. All sonography graduates are required to pass a certified exam from either the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), Cardiovascular Cerdentialing International (CCI), or the The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to be considered for employment as a sonographer. Ultrasound technicians can work in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, gynecology centers, private physician offices, labs, and outpatient medical imaging facilities.
Admission Into Sonography Programs
Schools with 100% open admission may reflect the institutions as a whole and not necessarily the sonography programs. Nearly all sonography programs will require students to complete prerequisite courses in math, anatomy & physiology, communication and physics prior to admission to the sonography program. Other prerequisite courses may be required depending on state and institutional degree completion requirements. Once these prerequisite courses are completed and other admissions requirements are met (likely to include observation hours, pre-entrance exams, and possibly and essay or interview), programs typically utilize either a waiting list or competitive admission process to admit students to the actual sonography program. Typically program size is limited by availability of clinical sites.
The prerequisite requirements are based on the general education requirements of the Sonography Education accrediting body, CAAHEP:
CAAHEP General Education Curriculum: Basic medical science and interpersonal communication education is required as a foundation for the clinical role of the diagnostic medical sonographer. The following must be at the postsecondary/college-level education courses:
- Human anatomy and physiology
Best 15 Associates in Sonography Programs
Pitt Community College
This community college in North Carolina takes the lead with an affordable and quality sonography education. Students learn the essential functions in this competitive field for abdominal, vascular, and gynecological ultrasound readings. The coursework will prepare them for the workforce in North Carolina medical facilities and beyond.
Pensacola State College
Pensacola State College offers a detailed and thoughtful AAS degree for Florida students who are serious about pursuing a career in sonography. The school has an open admission policy but does require students to have an American Heart Association CPR card and pass a federal background check prior to beginning the clinical lab courses, which ensures peace of mind and strong ethical standards in the educational experience.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
The practical lessons taught in Asheville-Bumcombe’s Medical Sonography program are some of the best in North Carolina with great value in tuition savings. The Associate’s degree prepares students to take the required exams for entry-level positions, or they can transfer right away to several reputed schools whom Ashville-Buncombe has formed alliances with outside the state.
Johnston Community College
This tiny school in Smithfield, North Carolina is not to be fooled. Johnston Community College offers a surprising array of medical concentrations, and its sonography programs are remarkable in their own right. Both their Medical and Cardiac Sonography degrees have earned them the #1 spot in the state by NursingProcess.org. Students can earn additional certifications like Mammography to complement their depth of knowledge and stay competitive in the marketplace.
The Washington state college offers a unique alternative to the traditional Associate sonography degree format. Though different, the Associate in Arts degree is aimed to deliver similar outcomes as other sonography programs and trains students to be prepared for the field as much as possible.
Lone Star College
While 80 credits and above is the common norm for an Associate in Applied Science degree, Lone Star College’s Sonography AAS is much faster with only 60 credits required to graduate. Only a few prerequisite courses are required for new students to enter the program, and the accelerated degree is designed for them to quickly enter the workforce and earn income. An optional vascular Certificate can be added for 10 credits more, arming the student with more skills in less time.
State Fair Community College
State Fair’s competitive tuition and solid sonography program make it a quality choice for associate degree students in Missouri. Applicants choose between Cardiac Track (cardiac & vascular) or General Track (abdomen, OB/GYN & vascular) pathways. The program’s courses are offered in a hybrid format that blends online convenience with practical on-campus lab training. Clinical internships are completed at Missouri health care facilities. State Fair Community College has an open admission policy. Pre-sonography students first complete prerequisite general education and science courses and then submit an application to the competitive admission sonography program.
Tulsa Community College Owasso Campus
This competitive AAS degree from Tulsa Community College is highly sought-after by Oklahoma students. The program is fast-paced, practical, and displays transparent pricing for everything from tuition, books, uniforms and more. The cost for taking the exams is even visible, so students get an excellent picture of what they are paying for. And with the median sonographer’s salary ranging from $60,000 to $70,000 or more, the pricetag is very attractive in the long run.
Washburn has offered their sonography program completely online for 11 years now, a rare gem for a program that is traditionally held on campus. They will even work with the student to arrange clinical lab settings nearby their home to satisfy the lab portion. Three concentrations are available – the general, cardiac, and vascular tracks. Though the program may only be a certificate, it is not to be underestimated. Students can remarkably take the required ARDMS or CCI exams after graduating with any of the three certificate tracks in hand. They can also pursue a Bachelor’s in sonography for further education.
The flexibility in Jackson College’s online sonography degree is a good fit for disciplined students with busy schedules. Two concentrations can be chosen within the General Sonography program – obstetrics/gynecology and abdomen/superficial structures. The school serves students in Michigan and Indiana, but they can also work with you to locate a nearby hospital elsewhere to help satisfy the lab coursework in remote settings.
Cardiac and Vascular Institute of Ultrasound
Future sonographers, this school is just for you. The Cardiac and Vascular Institute of Ultrasound is dedicated entirely to sonography imaging. Most of their Associate level programs are accelerated and can be completed in as little as 12 months. Specializing entirely on cardiac sonography, they help students get placed into entry-level medical jobs with more qualifications than other schools with general sonography education.
University of Rio Grande, Holzer School of Nursing and Allied Health
This open-admissions school welcomes students who yearn to pursue a sonography career. Rio’s Diagnostic Medical program prepares you for sonography at both the Associate’s and Bachelor levels to continue advancement, and you can choose from either the General Sonography or Cardiac concentration. These programs will also prepare students for the national registry exams by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, giving them a solid start in their profession.
The ECPI University system is designed with the student who seeks a career change in mind. Their AAS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography can be taken at their Virginia campuses in Richmond or Newport News. Students who graduate from this associate’s degree can take the registration exam at the ARDMS or ARRT organizations right away to be considered for employment.
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College is well versed in preparing students in the health science careers, including their Associates degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The Catholic school was founded in 1899 and continues to grow strong since then. Students can expect to find a rewarding education that includes the traditional general and cardiac concentrations.
AdventHealth’s state of the art lab facilities gives students a competitive edge while infusing a caring and professional approach. The school’s Associate Sonography degree prepares students for both the physical and mental demands of the job for real-world scenarios. Associate graduates may also pursue a Bachelor’s degree while they are working through an entry-level position.
Our Ranking Methodology
Each college was ranked based on the acceptance rate and estimated tuition and fees from each school’s website. The tuition data was calculated by the in-state tuition rate and academic semester year for all schools. We defined an academic year by the average of two semesters to make these calculations. Some schools provide accelerated programs with three semesters in a year. Other schools have lower in-district rates that were not scored; contacting the school is recommended to learn more about these opportunities.
The score data is sourced from the specific campus mentioned instead of the parent school as applicable. Each school was given initial scores for the lowest amount of annual tuition and fees followed by the admission rate. Schools shown with 100% admission rate have open admission policies. The scores were then combined to total the final scores shown above. The program accreditation sourced from each school’s website is listed for additional convenience.
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