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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Training

Diagnostic medical sonographers need formal education, such as an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Many employers also require professional certification.

Colleges and universities offer both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in sonography. One-year certificate programs also are available, although these are usually useful only to those who are already employed in related healthcare jobs, such as nursing. Employers prefer a degree or certificate from an accredited institute or hospital program. The accredited programs usually follow a specific course of study and include clinical training. These programs also include courses in medical terminology and interpreting sonographic images. Most programs are divided into the specialized fields that correspond to the relevant certification exams, such as abdominal sonography or breast sonography.

Some sonographers graduate with a degree in radiologic technology or nursing and then receive on-the-job training by their employer. High school students who are interested in diagnostic medical sonography should take courses in anatomy, physiology, and mathematics.

Most employers prefer to hire sonographers who have professional certification. A sonographer can get certification by graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam. Most exams relate to the specialty that the sonographer is most interested in—for example, an exam to be become certified in abdominal sonography. A few states require diagnostic medical sonographers to be licensed. Typically, professional certification is required for licensure; other requirements vary by state. Sonographers must take continuing education to keep their certification current.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

for State specific information, visit JOB OUTLOOK BY STATE

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