Diagnostic Medical Sonography Schools

While the average person may immediately associate diagnostic medical sonography—also referred to as ultrasound technology—with images of babies growing inside the womb, the field extends beyond obstetrics and gynecology to cardiac sonography, vascular sonography, and even pediatric sonography. Many sonographers choose to focus on general sonography to keep their employment options open, but the possibilities for specialization are quite extensive. Sonographers (i.e., ultrasound technicians) work closely with trained physicians in capturing and interpreting sonographic images. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) adds that by using high-frequency sound waves to elucidate structures such as organs or blood flow patterns, practitioners get deeper insights into whether a person’s body is functioning properly.

In granular terms, sonographers take diagnostic scans; ensure patient safety with proper methods and equipment; maintain detailed patient records (e.g., anatomical or pathological abnormalities); and educate patients on the use of sonographic devices.

Schools across the country offer diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) programs, with distance learning options becoming increasingly prevalent. In addition to coursework, students are expected to complete a supervised clinical practicum to garner real experience working in a professional environment. This hands-on, practical training must be completed prior to certification. While there are a number of national organizations that offer credentials, there is currently no singular licensing requirement recognized by the federal government. While certification and licensure may be voluntary, employers typically prefer registered sonographers. Certification, such as that offered through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), can be accomplished following the completion of an accredited diagnostic medical sonography program and exam. It’s important to note that beginning January 1, 2015, the ARRT began requiring candidates to have at least an associate degree prior to seeking credentialing, although this degree need not be in DMS.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017), diagnostic medical sonographers make an average annual salary of $73,200. Additionally, the BLS (2017) projects that openings in this field will swell 23 percent between 2016 and 2026, an astonishing rate considering that the average growth projected for all occupations is a modest 7 percent. The addition of 15,600 jobs nationwide will continue to impact opportunities in this field for years to come.

For those interested in a relatively lucrative and fast-growing career in a medical field, attending one of many reputable diagnostic medical sonography schools may be the perfect option.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer fast facts
Projected Jobs Created15,600
Projected Job Growth23%
Low Salary$50,760
Average Salary (Median)$71,410
High Salary$99,840
Entry-Level EDU Associate Degree
Sourced From BLS, May 2017

Sonography Degree & Certification Programs

Training programs throughout the country allow students to earn either a certificate of completion, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography. However, it should be noted that in order to qualify for certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)—one of the predominant credentials in the field—students must earn at minimum an associate degree. Prior to enrolling in any diagnostic medical sonography courses, students should familiarize themselves with the educational and licensing requirements in the state where they wish to practice.

Those seeking to specialize in a certain type of sonography—areas such as obstetric and gynecological (OB/GYN), vascular, cardiac, or pediatric—should look for programs that offer either direct specialization tracks, or clinical practicum options in those fields.

Each program on the following list has, at minimum, earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The list provides a general cross section of programs offering training at hospitals, universities, and colleges running the spectrum from certificate to four-year bachelor of science (BS) degrees.

  • St. Vincent’s Healthcare: At this hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, students can complete an 18-month certificate course in diagnostic medical sonography under direct supervision of trained professionals. In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must be certified as a radiologic technologist and/or have a minimum of an associate degree (healthcare fields preferred but not required). There are also several prerequisite courses (e.g., physics, algebra, anatomy) that must be completed prior to admission. A full list is available on the program website.
  • University of Colorado at Denver: At the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, the Department of Radiology offers a highly selective diagnostic medical sonography certificate program. Approximately 5 students are selected each year to complete the 12-month program. The program includes classroom and clinical training. Students must have either an associate degree from a two-year allied health program or a bachelor’s degree in a science or medical field prior to admission. Direct patient care experience as well as documented observation within the ultrasound field are also highly valued in the application process.
  • Harper College: Located in Palatine, Illinois, the Harper College diagnostic medical sonography associate degree program is appropriate for those students who do not have the prerequisites necessary to qualify for the above certificate programs. The courses include ultrasound physics & instrumentation, sonography theory, and healthcare technology & informatics. This coursework helps prepare students for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification exams in either general or cardiac sonography, depending on the path they choose.
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: The School of Allied Health Professions, located at the Medical Center campus of the University of Nebraska in Omaha offers students the opportunity to earn either a post-baccalaureate professional certificate or BS degree in radiation science technology upon completion of the program. Graduates are also eligible to take the ARDMS credentialing exams in any or all of the following: sonographic principles & instrumentation, abdomen, obstetrics & gynecology, and pediatric sonography.
  • Mayo Clinic: At both their Rochester, Minnesota and Jacksonville, Florida campuses, the internationally acclaimed Mayo Clinic offers training in diagnostic medical sonography. The program takes 21 months to complete. Students may choose to receive a certificate of completion from the Mayo School of Health Sciences, or to pursue a BS in health professions (BSHP) in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, Rochester.
  • Seattle University: Seattle University is one of the few programs that offers a BS degree specifically in diagnostic ultrasound. The program includes a basic science foundation, followed by ultrasound-focused courses and clinical training. Applicants may enter the program as freshmen with a high school diploma or GED, or may choose to transfer in later in their academic career.

List of Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
High Desert Medical College Lancaster California www.hdmc.edu 167
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida www.keiseruniversity.edu 137
West Coast Ultrasound Institute Beverly Hills California wcui.edu 128
CBD College Los Angeles California www.cbd.edu 107
Central California School of Continuing Education San Luis Obispo California ccsce.org 100
New York Medical Career Training Center Flushing New York www.nymedtraining.com 93
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.jefferson.edu 87
EDIC College Caguas Puerto Rico www.ediccollege.edu 86
Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls Oregon www.oit.edu 81
Platt College-Los Angeles Alhambra California www.plattcollege.edu 77
Platt College-Riverside Riverside California www.plattcollege.edu 74
Platt College-Ontario Ontario California www.plattcollege.edu 71
MCPHS University Boston Massachusetts www.mcphs.edu 67
Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology Delray Beach Florida www.cambridgehealth.edu 63
Grand Valley State University Allendale Michigan www.gvsu.edu 54
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts San Mateo California www.gurnick.edu 54
ATA College Tulsa Oklahoma tulsa.ata.edu 51
Miami Dade College Miami Florida www.mdc.edu 50
National Career Education Citrus Heights California nce.edu 50
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Carolina Campus Carolina Puerto Rico une.suagm.edu 49
Institute for Business and Technology Santa Clara California ibt.edu 46
Florida Institute of Ultrasound Inc Pensacola Florida www.fiuonline.net 45
PCI College Cerritos California www.pci-ed.com 43
Center for Allied Health Education Brooklyn New York www.cahe.edu 42
Ponce Paramedical College Inc Ponce Puerto Rico www.popac.edu 42
The College of Health Care Professions-Northwest Houston Texas www.chcp.edu 42
Red Rocks Community College Lakewood Colorado www.rrcc.edu 38
Weber State University Ogden Utah www.weber.edu 38
Triton College River Grove Illinois www.triton.edu 33
Atenas College Manati Puerto Rico www.atenascollege.edu 32
Bellevue College Bellevue Washington bellevuecollege.edu 32
GateWay Community College Phoenix Arizona www.gatewaycc.edu 32
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Cupey Campus San Juan Puerto Rico umet.suagm.edu 32
AdventHealth University Orlando Florida www.ahu.edu 31
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Pennsylvania www.ccac.edu 31
Houston International College Cardiotech Ultrasound School Houston Texas cardiotech.org 30
Lansing Community College Lansing Michigan www.lcc.edu 30
Lone Star College System The Woodlands Texas www.lonestar.edu 30
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York www.rit.edu 30
Stautzenberger College-Brecksville Brecksville Ohio www.sctoday.edu 30
Casa Loma College-Van Nuys Van Nuys California www.casalomacollege.edu 29
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland Ohio www.tri-c.edu 29
Cypress College Cypress California www.cypresscollege.edu 29
North-West College-Long Beach Long Beach California www.nw.edu 29
South Hills School of Business & Technology State College Pennsylvania www.southhills.edu 29
The College of Health Care Professions-Fort Worth Fort Worth Texas www.chcp.edu 29
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois www.cod.edu 28
Lackawanna College Scranton Pennsylvania www.lackawanna.edu 28
Monroe College Bronx New York www.monroecollege.edu 28
American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway New Jersey www.aimseducation.edu 27
Cardiac and Vascular Institute of Ultrasound Mobile Alabama www.ultrasound.edu 27
The College of Health Care Professions-San Antonio San Antonio Texas chcp.edu 27
George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville Hanceville Alabama www.wallacestate.edu 26
Spokane Community College Spokane Washington scc.spokane.edu 26
Western Suffolk BOCES Northport New York www.wilsontech.org 25
Baker College Flint Michigan www.baker.edu 24
North-West College-Santa Ana Santa Ana California www.nw.edu 24
El Centro College Dallas Texas www.elcentrocollege.edu 23
Pittsburgh Career Institute Pittsburgh Pennsylvania www.pci.edu 23
The University of Findlay Findlay Ohio www.findlay.edu 23
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California home.llu.edu 22
South College Knoxville Tennessee www.south.edu 22
Trocaire College Buffalo New York trocaire.edu 21
Austin Community College District Austin Texas www.austincc.edu 21
Central Ohio Technical College Newark Ohio www.cotc.edu 21
ECPI University Virginia Beach Virginia www.ecpi.edu 21
Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville Georgia www.gwinnetttech.edu 21
Houston Community College Houston Texas www.hccs.edu 21
Meridian College Sarasota Florida www.meridian.edu 21
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale Florida www.nova.edu 21
San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia Visalia California www.sjvc.edu 21
ATI College-Norwalk Norwalk California www.ati.edu 20
Palm Beach State College Lake Worth Florida www.palmbeachstate.edu 20
Elgin Community College Elgin Illinois www.elgin.edu 19
Medical Career Institute Ocean New Jersey www.mcinj.edu 19
Platt College-Anaheim Anaheim California www.plattcollege.edu 19
University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City Oklahoma ouhsc.edu 19
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande Ohio www.rio.edu 19
Alvin Community College Alvin Texas www.alvincollege.edu 18
American Institute-West Hartford West Hartford Connecticut americaninstitute.com 18
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas Nevada www.csn.edu 18
Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome Georgia www.gntc.edu 18
Great Lakes Institute of Technology Erie Pennsylvania www.glit.edu 18
Hunter Business School Levittown New York hunterbusinessschool.edu 18
ICPR Junior College-Mayaguez Mayaguez Puerto Rico www.icprjc.edu 18
Lamar Institute of Technology Beaumont Texas www.lit.edu 18
Southeastern College-West Palm Beach West Palm Beach Florida www.sec.edu 18
University of Charleston Charleston West Virginia www.ucwv.edu 18
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Florida www.easternflorida.edu 17
Ferris State University Big Rapids Michigan www.ferris.edu 17
Hillsborough Community College Tampa Florida www.hccfl.edu 17
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York www.hvcc.edu 17
Kettering College Kettering Ohio kc.edu 17
National Polytechnic College Lakewood California www.npcollege.edu 17
Pitt Community College Winterville North Carolina www.pittcc.edu 17
The College of Health Care Professions-Austin Austin Texas www.chcp.edu 17
American Medical Sciences Center Glendale California www.amsc.edu 16
Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque New Mexico www.cnm.edu 16
Community College of Rhode Island Warwick Rhode Island www.ccri.edu 16
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport Iowa www.eicc.edu 16
ICPR Junior College-General Institutional Hato Rey Puerto Rico www.icprjc.edu 16
Midwestern Career College Chicago Illinois www.mccollege.edu 16
Montgomery College Rockville Maryland www.montgomerycollege.edu 16
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha Nebraska www.methodistcollege.edu 16
Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro Georgia www.ogeecheetech.edu 16
Southern Technical College Fort Myers Florida www.southerntech.edu 16
Southwest University at El Paso El Paso Texas southwestuniversity.edu 16
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin Tennessee www.volstate.edu 16
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa California www.orangecoastcollege.edu 15
Chattanooga State Community College Chattanooga Tennessee www.chattanoogastate.edu 15
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati Ohio www.cincinnatistate.edu 15
Florida National University-Main Campus Hialeah Florida www.fnu.edu 15
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines Iowa www.mchs.edu 15
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills Michigan www.oaklandcc.edu 15
Sacramento Ultrasound Institute Sacramento California sui.edu 15
Temple College Temple Texas www.templejc.edu 15
William Rainey Harper College Palatine Illinois www.harpercollege.edu 15
American Institute-Clifton CLIFTON New Jersey www.americaninstitute.com 14
Center for Ultrasound Research & Education White Plains New York www.cure.edu 14
Danville Area Community College Danville Illinois www.dacc.edu 14
Howard Community College Columbia Maryland www.howardcc.edu 14
Lincoln University Oakland California www.lincolnuca.edu 14
Modern Technology School Fountain Valley California www.mtschool.edu 14
Mount Aloysius College Cresson Pennsylvania www.mtaloy.edu 14
O C Collins Career Center Chesapeake Ohio www.collins-cc.edu 14
Saint Louis Community College Bridgeton Missouri www.stlcc.edu 14
Tacoma Community College Tacoma Washington www.tacomacc.edu 14
Tyler Junior College Tyler Texas www.tjc.edu 14
Weatherford College Weatherford Texas www.wc.edu 14
Amarillo College Amarillo Texas www.actx.edu 13
Bergen Community College Paramus New Jersey www.bergen.edu 13
Broward College Fort Lauderdale Florida www.broward.edu 13
Healthcare Career College Paramount California www.infotech.edu 13
Long Island University Brookville New York liu.edu/cwpost 13
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas www.alamo.edu/spc 13
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred Alfred New York www.alfredstate.edu 13
Johnston Community College Smithfield North Carolina www.johnstoncc.edu 12
Lorain County Community College Elyria Ohio www.lorainccc.edu 12
Parker University Dallas Texas www.parker.edu 12
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania www.pacollege.edu 12
Piedmont Virginia Community College Charlottesville Virginia www.pvcc.edu 12
Quinnipiac University Hamden Connecticut www.qu.edu 12
Tidewater Community College Norfolk Virginia www.tcc.edu 12
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock Arkansas www.uams.edu 12
Gulf Coast State College Panama City Florida www.gulfcoast.edu 12
Albany State University Albany Georgia www.asurams.edu 12
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences Memphis Tennessee www.bchs.edu 12
Del Mar College Corpus Christi Texas www.delmar.edu 12
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware www.dtcc.edu 12
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville North Carolina www.abtech.edu 11
Baptist Health System School of Health Professions San Antonio Texas www.bshp.edu 11
BridgeValley Community & Technical College South Charleston West Virginia www.bridgevalley.edu 11
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire Wisconsin www.cvtc.edu 11
Foothill College Los Altos Hills California foothill.edu 11
Hill College Hillsboro Texas www.hillcollege.edu 11
ICPR Junior College-Arecibo Arecibo Puerto Rico www.icprjc.edu 11
Lake Michigan College Benton Harbor Michigan www.lakemichigancollege.edu 11
Midland College Midland Texas www.midland.edu 11
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Virginia www.nvcc.edu 11
Polk State College Winter Haven Florida www.polk.edu 11
Rowan College at Gloucester County Sewell New Jersey www.rcgc.edu 11
San Jacinto Community College Pasadena Texas www.sanjac.edu 11
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara California www.sbcc.edu 11
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston Texas www.mdanderson.org 11
West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah Kentucky westkentucky.kctcs.edu 11
Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood Pennsylvania westmoreland.edu 11
American Institute-Toms River Toms River New Jersey www.americaninstitute.com 10
Baton Rouge Community College Baton Rouge Louisiana www.mybrcc.edu 10
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia www.centralgatech.edu 10
Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon Wisconsin www.cuw.edu 10
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana www.dcc.edu 10
El Paso Community College El Paso Texas www.epcc.edu 10
Grady Health System Professional Schools Atlanta Georgia www.gradyhealth.org 10
Greenville Technical College Greenville South Carolina www.gvltec.edu 10
H Councill Trenholm State Community College Montgomery Alabama www.trenholmstate.edu 10
Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center Muhlenberg Harold B Dorothy A Snyder Schools-School of Imaging Plainfield New Jersey www.jfkmuhlenbergschools.org 10
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Pennsylvania www.hacc.edu 10
Kaskaskia College Centralia Illinois www.kaskaskia.edu 10
Marion Technical College Marion Ohio www.mtc.edu 10
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota college.mayo.edu 10
Mt San Jacinto Community College District San Jacinto California www.msjc.edu 10
NHTI-Concord's Community College Concord New Hampshire www.nhti.edu 10
Northampton County Area Community College Bethlehem Pennsylvania www.northampton.edu 10
Owens Community College Perrysburg Ohio www.owens.edu 10
Rowan College at Burlington County Mount Laurel New Jersey www.rcbc.edu 10
South Piedmont Community College Polkton North Carolina www.spcc.edu 10
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield Massachusetts www.stcc.edu 10
The College of Health Care Professions-McAllen Campus McAllen Texas www.chcp.edu 10
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma www.tulsacc.edu 10
Union County College Cranford New Jersey www.ucc.edu 10
Valencia College Orlando Florida valenciacollege.edu 10
Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln Nebraska www.bryanhealthcollege.edu/bcohs 9
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington North Carolina www.cfcc.edu 9
Columbus Technical College Columbus Georgia www.columbustech.edu 9
Delta College University Center Michigan www.delta.edu 9
Hinds Community College Raymond Mississippi www.hindscc.edu 9
Lurleen B Wallace Community College Andalusia Alabama www.lbwcc.edu 9
Pima Medical Institute-Houston Houston Texas pmi.edu 9
Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls South Dakota www.southeasttech.edu 9
Southwestern Community College Sylva North Carolina www.southwesterncc.edu 9
University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia Missouri missouri.edu 9
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville Wisconsin www.blackhawk.edu 8
Eastern International College-Jersey City Jersey City New Jersey www.eicollege.edu 8
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem North Carolina www.forsythtech.edu 8
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne Wyoming www.lccc.wy.edu 8
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay Wisconsin www.nwtc.edu 8
Pensacola State College Pensacola Florida www.pensacolastate.edu 8
St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud Minnesota www.sctcc.edu 8
Texas Southmost College Brownsville Texas www.tsc.edu 8
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha Nebraska www.unmc.edu 8
Allen College Waterloo Iowa www.allencollege.edu 7
Bunker Hill Community College Boston Massachusetts www.bhcc.mass.edu 7
Gateway Community College New Haven Connecticut www.gatewayct.edu 7
Healthcare Training Institute Union New Jersey www.htinj.edu 7
Horry-Georgetown Technical College Conway South Carolina www.hgtc.edu 7
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana www.ivytech.edu 7
John A Logan College Carterville Illinois www.jalc.edu 7
Joliet Junior College Joliet Illinois www.jjc.edu 7
New Mexico State University-Dona Ana Las Cruces New Mexico dacc.nmsu.edu 7
South Suburban College South Holland Illinois www.ssc.edu 7
Upstate Medical University Syracuse New York www.upstate.edu 7
Angelina College Lufkin Texas www.angelina.edu 6
Merced College Merced California www.mccd.edu 6
New Horizons Medical Institute Norcross Georgia www.newhorizonsmedical.com 6
Bowling Green State University-Firelands Huron Ohio www.firelands.bgsu.edu 5
Jones County Junior College Ellisville Mississippi www.jcjc.edu 5
Rhode Island College Providence Rhode Island www.ric.edu 5
South Texas College McAllen Texas www.southtexascollege.edu 5
Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools Colonial Heights Virginia www.srmconline.com 5
Ultrasound Medical Institute Royal Palm Beach Florida www.nriinstitute.edu 5
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Alaska www.uaa.alaska.edu 5
Universidad Central Del Caribe Bayamon Puerto Rico www.uccaribe.edu 4
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Hudson North Carolina www.cccti.edu 4
Columbia Basin College Pasco Washington www.columbiabasin.edu 4
Eastern International College-Belleville Belleville New Jersey www.eicollege.edu 4
ICPR Junior College-Manati Manatí Puerto Rico www.icprjc.edu 4
Labette Community College Parsons Kansas www.labette.edu 4
Newman University Wichita Kansas www.newmanu.edu 4
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas ku.edu 4
Caris College Jeffersonville Indiana www.cariscollege.edu 3
Hillyard Technical Center Saint Joseph Missouri www.hillyardtech.com 3
Institute of Medical Ultrasound Atlanta Georgia www.imu.edu 3
Marian University Fond Du Lac Wisconsin www.marianuniversity.edu 3
West Virginia University Hospital Departments of Rad Tech and Nutrition Morgantown West Virginia www.wvuhradtech.com 3
Augusta Technical College Augusta Georgia www.augustatech.edu 2
Bacone College Muskogee Oklahoma www.bacone.edu 2
Benedictine University Lisle Illinois www.ben.edu 2
Seattle University Seattle Washington www.seattleu.edu 2
Carl Sandburg College Galesburg Illinois www.sandburg.edu 1
Lewis University Romeoville Illinois www.lewisu.edu 1
Middlesex Community College Bedford Massachusetts www.middlesex.mass.edu 1
Oklahoma City Community College Oklahoma City Oklahoma www.occc.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online Programs

Online training programs for diagnostic medical sonography are rare. As of June 2018, there are few online programs which have received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP). While these programs offer didactic courses online, there is still an essential clinical piece of ultrasound technician training that requires hands-on experience. Students will not be able to earn the sonography certification necessary to obtain top employment without clinical practice in addition to classroom or online courses. Here is a sampling of online and hybrid certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs for aspiring diagnostic medical sonographers:

  • Washburn University: With its main campus in Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University has been offering online diagnostic medical sonography training for more than a decade. All didactic courses are offered online, while clinical training can be arranged close to the student’s home for maximum flexibility and convenience. Graduating students are eligible for the ARDMS and CCI certification examinations. The program offers a general sonography certification program as well as specialized tracks in cardiac and vascular sonography.
  • Jackson College: As part of Jackson College’s allied health program, this Michigan-based college offers training in general, cardiac, and vascular sonography. Like Washburn, Jackson College offers their sonography didactic courses online but still requires students to complete an in-person clinical practicum. Students can expect to spend between 24 and 32 hours a week over the course of approximately one year at an approved clinical site near their home in order to successfully complete the program.
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: Unlike the previous two schools on this list, UWM offers a bachelor of science (BS) degree in biomedical sciences with a diagnostic medical sonography sub-major. Students complete two years of classroom training, either on campus or online, followed by two years of professional and clinical training at a UW clinical site. The school is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison but also has clinical sites in Milwaukee and Chicago. Students can choose a general focus or may concentrate on vascular or cardiac ultrasound.
  • Adventist University: Based in Orlando, Florida, Adventist University of Health Sciences provides an online BS in diagnostic medical sonography (BSDMS) program. When taken as a degree-completion program, the BSDMS is open to applicants currently registered in sonography through ARDMS, ARRT, or CCI. In as few as two years, students complete 34 credits of imaging courses such as advanced sonographic specialties and pathophysiology. Notably, Adventist University is CAAHEP-accredited and was one of the pioneers in distance-based education, offering online degrees since 2001.
  • Oregon Tech Online: Headquartered in Klamath Falls, Oregon Tech Online also provides an online bachelor of science (BS) degree-completion program in diagnostic medical sonography. Open to registered diagnostic sonographers, Oregon Tech’s courses include intro to diagnostic imaging, applications of abdominal sonography, pelvic sonography, and physics of medical imaging. Additionally, students complete a DMS externship at an approved clinical facility located close to their homes. Supervisors sign off on a DMS skills checklist as employment-ready skills are acquired.
School City State Website grads (2018)
Platt College-Los Angeles Alhambra California www.plattcollege.edu 77
Fort Hays State University Hays Kansas www.fhsu.edu 56
Washburn University Topeka Kansas www.washburn.edu 56
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts San Mateo California www.gurnick.edu 54
Jackson College Jackson Michigan www.jccmi.edu 53
American College for Medical Careers Orlando Florida www.acmc.edu 36
AdventHealth University Orlando Florida www.ahu.edu 31
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California home.llu.edu 22
Misericordia University Dallas Pennsylvania www.misericordia.edu 16
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha Nebraska www.methodistcollege.edu 16
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida www.sfcollege.edu 13
Siena Heights University Adrian Michigan www.sienaheights.edu 13
Baptist Health System School of Health Professions San Antonio Texas www.bshp.edu 11
State Fair Community College Sedalia Missouri www.sfccmo.edu 11
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Core & Elective Courses

In order to establish a standard curriculum across the many diagnostic medical sonography schools in the US, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS) has made available a common core curriculum list of courses, as well as those specialty courses that should be taken for specialization in the field. The core curriculum of an accredited program typically includes:

  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Communications
  • Psychology & human behavior
  • Statistics
  • Information technology
  • Superficial structures
  • Vascular & neurosonographic imaging
  • Patient care
  • Medical ethics & law
  • Medical terminology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Sonography principles & instrumentation
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD)

Full descriptions of each of these requirements are available on the JRCDMS website in a PDF. Students who wish to specialize in abdominal sonography should expect to find courses that include each of the following areas:

  • Biliary
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Renal & lower urinary tract
  • Spleen
  • Adrenal
  • Abdominal vasculature
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Abdominopelvic wall & cavities
  • Interventional
  • Organ transplant
  • Breast
  • Neck
  • Prostate
  • Scrotum
  • Musculoskeletal sonography
  • Pediatric hip
  • Neonatal brain
  • Neonatal spine

For students who wish to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, the following elective courses are generally required:

  • Clinical assessment of obstetrical patients
  • Fetal assessment
  • High-risk obstetrics
  • Fetal structural abnormalities
  • Interventional procedures
  • Postpartum complications
  • Performance standards & documentation

There may be other elective possibilities for those students pursuing a four-year degree that are outside of the sonography curriculum.

Accreditation

Generally speaking, accreditation means that a particular educational program has been evaluated and approved of by a nationally recognized body of experts. Both programmtic and institutional accreditation are important to consider.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation refers to the evaluation of a specific program, in this case a sonography program. Prior to seeking professional certification through a body such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), aspiring ultrasound technicians must complete a program at an accredited school. For many branches of medical technology, including diagnostic medical sonography, the gold standard of programmatic accreditation is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP), a group that has established ultrasound technician program standards in conjunction with the Joint Review Commission on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS). Accreditation will consider faculty, facilities, curriculum and other factors to determine whether a program meets the accrediting body's standards. CAAHEP maintains a list of accredited sonography programs.

Institutional Accreditation

Additionally, there are six regional institutional accrediting organizations which have been recognized by the US Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):

Each agency has their own process, but accreditation typically consists of a thorough application, self-study, and site visit by the accrediting agency. Typical criteria used in the program-approval process are curriculum standards, quality of facilities, program finance management, availability of institutional resources, and student outcome measures.

Prior to enrolling in a program, students should ensure that their school has the proper accreditation, which can vary by region, place of employment, or desired credential.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for diagnostic medical sonographers is exceptionally strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) anticipates a 23 percent increase nationally in openings for diagnostic medical sonographers (DMS) between 2016 and 2026, nearly four times the average growth projected for all occupations in that time period (7 percent).

Because diagnostic medical sonographers can be useful in many different situations, there are a number of factors contributing to this positive outlook. First, as with so many healthcare occupations, the aging US population is going to continue to have more and more contact with the healthcare industry. From mammograms to blood clots, ultrasounds can be of assistance for many age-related ailments. Furthermore, medical imaging technology is continuing to advance. This means that physicians are going to be able to treat more health issues using non-invasive techniques and outpatient procedures, which can include the assistance of ultrasound technicians.

While hospitals are expected to hire the majority of new sonographers, physicians’ offices as well as outpatient surgical centers are also expected to be in the market for trained sonographers moving forward. Specializing in a certain area of medical sonography can also enhance a person’s employment prospects and earning potential. According to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS 2016) annual compensation survey, there’s evidence that sonographers specializing in obstetrics tend to be paid more that general sonographers meaning there is likely a higher demand for that particular specialty. Of course, one should also take into account that demand can fluctuate based on geographic location and demographics, so other specialities might be growing at a faster pace in other states.

The BLS (2017) found that the 68,750 diagnostic medical sonographers around the country had an annual average salary of $73,200. Here were the annual percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $50,760
  • 25th percentile: $59,110
  • 50th percentile (median): $71,410
  • 75th percentile: $84,300
  • 90th percentile: $99,840

In hourly terms, these figures equate to an average $35.19/hr. and these ranges:

  • 10th percentile: $24.40/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $28.42/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $34.33/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $40.53/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $48.00/hr.

Interestingly, Payscale (June 2018)—an aggregator of self-reported wages—found lower figures among its 1,457 DMS respondents:

  • 10th percentile: $20.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $25.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $29.00/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $35.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $41.00/hr.

Not surprisingly, wages and employment figures in this field also tend to vary based on region. The BLS (2017) found that the top-employing states for diagnostic medical sonographers correlated roughly with population size:

  • California: 6,380 employed ($91,700 annual average salary)
  • Texas: 5,270 employed ($78,250 annual avg.)
  • Florida: 5,130 employed ($64,730 annual avg.)
  • New York: 4,790 employed ($74,480 annual avg.)
  • Illinois: 2,740 employed ($74,340 annual avg.)

Fortunately for residents of the Golden State, California was both the top-employing and top-paying state in this profession.

Overall, considering that only two years of postsecondary school is the typical entry-level education for this career, it can prove a very lucrative professional field. In 2018, the SDMS is celebrating the 70th anniversary of diagnostic ultrasound. For aspiring technicians in this field, there is a wide range of specialties and conditions which benefit from the application of this continually evolving technology. Some of the high-growth subfields of this discipline include gynecology, pregnancy, breast imaging, heart disease screening, prostate cancer detection, and musculoskeletal exams.

Career Facts Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Related CareersMedical And Clinical Laboratory Technician, Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Radiologic Technologist, MRI Technologist, Cardiovascular Technician
Common Job TitlesCardiac Sonographer, Cardiac/Vascular Sonographer, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Sonographer, Ultrasonographer, Ultrasound Technician, Ultrasound Technologist
Technology & EquipmentUltrasound Monitors, Ultrasound Video Equipment, High Frequency Transducers, Patient Medical Record Software, Office and Productivity Software
Sourced From BLS, May 2017

Licensing & Certification

There are two main bodies that offer national certification exams for careers in sonography. More diverse, specialty-focused credentials are available from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), while a generalized sonography certification is available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

The ARDMS offers five specialized exams which result in the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). The exams are:

  • Abdomen (AB)
  • Breast (BR)
  • Fetal Echocardiography (FE)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)
  • Pediatric Sonography (PS)

Additionally, the ARDMS has three credentials for subfields of diagnostic sonography: Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), and Registered Musculoskeletal Sonographer (RMSKS). The ARDMS has minimum education and/or experience levels in order to sit for any certification exam. In order to obtain certification, students must pass the basic Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam as well as at least one specialty examination. Applicants can visit the Prerequisite and Requirement Eligibility Program (PREP) portion of the ARDMS site to determine if they are eligible for their intended certification exam. This credential is valid for one year.

The ARRT provides a generalized sonography certification. In order to be eligible for the ARRT exam, students must have completed an ARRT-approved sonography program within the last 3 years, and must have earned an academic degree. Accredited agency lists are available on the ARRT website.  Additionally, candidates must have fulfilled the didactic and clinical competence requirements, which include proof of having completed seven mandatory patient care procedures, four mandatory scanning techniques, 22 imaging procedures, and five elective imaging procedures. This registration must be renewed annually.

As of June 2018, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) reports that there are four states which regulate sonographers: New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and North Dakota. It is entirely possible that additional states will pass licensure laws for sonographers, so interested students would be wise to check with their local state organizations to determine whether licensing is required.

Both the ARRT and ARDMS certifications require continuing education (CE) units in order to maintain the credentials. The ARRT requires 24 CE credits biennially as well as continuing qualifications requirements (CQR) to be fulfilled every 10 years. The ARDMS requires 30 continuing medical education (CME) units every three years. Please reference the links above for details about what types of CE qualify.

Finally, the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) provides a wealth of CE and CME opportunities through annual conferences, events, meetings, online coursework, and other offerings.