What are the steps to prepare for a sonography career? You can understand these steps by researching the profession.
Use this site and other references to learn how to prepare for a diagnostic medical sonographer career by researching the job description and duties, education, skills, schools, training, certification and licensing requirements.
You may have many questions such as:
- what kind of sonography school do I attend?
- how long does it take to become a sonographer?
- how many years of school does it take to become a sonographer?
- what is a registered sonographer?
Step 1. High School Preparation
If you are in high school and know you are interested in preparing for a sonography career, you can prepare by taking certain courses. Some helpful courses include biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology and mathematics.
Step 2. Get a Degree from an Accredited School
The relevant degrees are certificate, associate and bachelor's degree. These can take from one to four years and include classroom as well as clinical experience. For more details on schools and accreditation please visit the Sonography Schools page or the Online Sonography Schools page. You can research and request information on sonography/ultrasound schools below by filling out education, H.S. graduation year, learning preference and zip code.
Step 3. Satisfy Your Clinical Work Experience Requirements
Ideally you should have one year of clinical work/sonography experience before taking the ARDMS examinations. You will become familiar with the daily responsibilities and duties of a diagnostic medical sonographer while under the supervision of an experienced sonographer. According to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, one year of experience is required before taking the ARDMS exams if your educational program was not accredited by the CAAHEP or the CMA. It is also necessary if you have previously earned a degree and practiced in a related healthcare field, such as radiologic technology or nursing, and intend to become a medical sonographer.
Step 4. Earn Sonography Certification
Many employers prefer or require that sonographers be certified. Organizations that offer certification include the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). ARDMS grants the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer title (RDMS). For more details on certification please visit the Sonographer Certification page.
Step 5. Become Licensed
Sonography licensure is required by some states but not all. You should check your states' specific licensing requirements because they do vary. Professional certification is normally a requirement for licensure.
Step 6. Maintain Certification and Licensure
To maintain ARRT and ARDMS registration and credentials, you will need to complete a certain number of continuing education credits and pay renewal and licensing fees. The continuing education credits needed are typically 24 to 30 credits over two or three years.