What to Expect from Sonography School
Choosing a sonography school that is best for you can be a daunting task. First you must decide if you are going to relocate or if you are going to try to find one locally. If you opt to find one near you, be sure that it is accredited and will be recognized by the ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers). Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound programs are designed to prepare you to perform basic diagnostic ultrasound exams. Usually, the programs focus on the most common areas of the body that sonography is used for such as the abdomen, pelvis, pregnant female organs, and superficial structures. Many programs will also give you some basic instruction on vascular ultrasound. Some sonography schools also offer a full certificate for vascular sonography to give you a more in depth training in this area.
What types of classes will I be taking during sonography school?
As a diagnostic sonography student, you will be taking classes in anatomy and physiology in order to gain the foundational knowledge you will need to successfully perform your job. As a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, you will need to possess a high level of familiarity with the organs you are imaging in order to understand the protocols for a systemic and logical survey of the organs. This knowledge will come in handy when you are moving the transducer around the exterior of the body and navigating around to find the best quality images for the ordering physician to interpret. The curriculum is generally includes a lecture, or standard classroom portion of study, then an imaging lab portion, then a clinical component. Lastly, you will have an externship in order to take what you have learned and apply it to the real world under the supervision of a seasoned professional. You can get a more detailed look at a typical set of course work on the ultrasound courses and ultrasound training pages.
The externship is often cited as one of the most important parts of the learning process and will give you the confidence you need to be competent in your first job out of sonography school. The externship consists of supervised procedures in a clinical setting. The professional you are assigned to will complete competency logs for a list of procedures that you have successfully performed under their watch. After completing the sonography school program, you will have the skills and competencies that will help you get your first job as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. To find schools offering sonography programs, take a look at the ultrasound school directory where you can request information and get the specifics about sonography programs.
Cardiovascular Technology: A Popular Option for Specialization
Many students are choosing to supplement their studies in a specific area of sonography such as cardiovascular technology. Cardiovascular technology is fast becoming a popular option for sonography students to pursue. The program is designed to train you on imaging the heart and valve function. While all sonography schools are different, most of these programs will give you practical experience in cardiovascular science, EKG, holter monitoring, telemetry, and echocardiography. Once you complete your certificate in cardiovascular technology, you will want to apply for the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) and Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) examinations. To learn more about the specific licensing requirements and certification, check out the ARDMS website.
We have put together some resources to help you with further research on sonography schools and careers:
Sonography Career Research: