Healthcare is one of the most significant components of our society. Numerous medical subfields play a fundamental role in helping healthcare workers with diagnostic purposes, making their tasks much more accessible. Sonography is a diagnostic medical test that uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to create images, videos, or scans of the human body, helping healthcare professionals make accurate diagnoses and treatments of the patient.
A sonogram, in everyday language, is known as an ultrasound test. As it plays a significant role in diagnosing numerous diseases in the body, many people pursue this field as a career in many countries. The United States, one of the world’s most well-developed and literate countries, offers many specialization courses in sonography to enhance knowledge and numerous job opportunities in different medical fields.
Now, the question is, how long does it take to become a sonographer in the United States? Well, the duration varies according to your degree and qualification. The following article thoroughly answers all your questions regarding sonography and its course duration.
The duration to become a sonographer varies according to the degree type you choose. Depending on your course, it can range from 12 months to 4 years. Read the following article to clear up your confusion about this course duration.
What Is A Sonographer?
A sonographer is commonly known as an ultrasound specialist. A medical diagnostic sonographer uses ultrasonic imaging equipment to create specific images, scans, or three-dimensional visualizations of the human body that help medical specialists diagnose different diseases in the human body.
After completing your degree in sonography, you can choose a specific field for specialization in medical diagnostic sonography. In other words, a sonographer can specialize in a particular area, requiring them to produce images of a specific part of the human body through ultrasonic equipment.
Skills And Responsibilities Of A Sonographer
As sonography is one of the most critical medical fields, a sonographer requires many skills and responsibilities. To highlight the duties of a sonographer, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019 made a report and mentioned the traits of a skillful sonographer. A sonogram is a medical test that creates images or scans through high-frequency ultrasound waves.
Therefore, a sonographer’s work must be detail-oriented to obtain an error-free image to diagnose the disease accurately. Furthermore, hand and eye coordination is vital to a sonographer’s job. In other words, a sonographer must focus on the screen and simultaneously move the transducer on the patient’s body while performing a sonogram test.
Apart from that, a sonographer or an ultrasound tech must have the physical stamina to perform an ultrasound test of different body parts. Various other skills are essential for a sonographer, like understanding the technical equipment for recording ultrasound waves.
A sonographer is responsible for reviewing ultrasound images to recheck their quality and readability, ensuring the physician can quickly diagnose the abnormality. In addition, a sonographer explains ultrasound diagnostic procedures to patients by interacting with them.
Average Salary Of A Sonographer In The United States
The average salary of a sonographer in the United States is $75,380 per year. You must remember that wages in the medical field may vary according to an individual’s work experience and sub-field. Your degree can affect your income.
Furthermore, your place of employment has a prominent effect on your income. Therefore, each sonographer’s salary varies according to qualifications, place of employment, degree, work experience, and many other factors.
How To Become A Sonographer?
Before digging into the details of the course duration of sonography, one must know the procedure of becoming a sonographer or an ultrasound tech. To become a sonographer, you can follow different guidelines. The course duration of sonography depends on the following procedures.
Complete Your Associate Degree
One of the most common procedures many individuals follow to become a sonographer in the United States is completing their associate degree. This degree takes around two years to complete. It is an ideal option for individuals who don’t want to study this field in the four-year bachelor program and instead decide to study in the associate degree program for two years.
One of the drawbacks of this procedure is that some medical labs might require a bachelor’s degree with an associate degree in the job requirement. Hence, pursuing this field after completing your four-year bachelor’s in sonography can help you earn a significant amount in the United States.
Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree
As I mentioned earlier, many medical labs and hospitals in the United States require a bachelor’s degree in sonography to hire an ultrasound tech. A four-year bachelor’s degree is more concentrated than an associate’s degree because it covers numerous healthcare-related subjects, including health sciences, medical lab technology, mathematics, and more. Because it is more intensive than an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree has a longer duration but more benefits and job opportunities.
Gain Clinical Experience
Once you complete your bachelor’s degree or associate degree, the most important thing is to gain clinical experience. Every medical field requires clinical experience to enhance one’s knowledge. The same is the case with diagnostic medical sonography.
You must work at clinics and deal with patients to gain some experience. This experience is fundamental in developing interpersonal skills with the patient, communication, technical, medical, and many other skills.
Earn A Certificate
Once you complete your degree in medical diagnostic sonography, it’s time to obtain your career certificate. You can also sign up for different medical diagnostic sonography courses to earn certificates, enhance your knowledge, and learn practical skills.
You can obtain your certificate from the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer credentials. In addition, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) also offers numerous certifications to sonographers in many sub-sonography fields. One thing you must remember about earning a certificate is that you must pass a certification exam to obtain it.
Upon obtaining your certification, you can choose your specialty in the sub-field of medical diagnostic sonography. You can consider pursuing a career in breast sonography, abdominal sonography, echocardiography, neurosonology, etc.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Sonographer In The US?
Now, coming to the article’s main topic, the duration to become a sonographer varies according to your chosen degree. To earn a certificate, it might take around 12 months to 18 months to complete your course. For an associate degree, completing your degree in medical diagnostic sonography takes approximately 18 months to 2 years.
On the contrary, earning a bachelor’s degree in medical diagnostic sonography takes up to four years. For individuals pursuing an associate degree after a bachelor’s degree, two more years are added to their studies. Your clinical experience duration may vary accordingly.
Furthermore, each specialization you choose has a specific period. Therefore, the time to become a professional ultrasound tech depends on an individual’s degree type.
Why Does It Take So Long To Become A Sonographer?
You might wonder why it takes so long to become a sonographer. As ultrasound technicians deal with high-frequency ultrasound waves, they must complete their training and courses.
Healthcare workers work to save people’s lives. Therefore, sonography courses are long enough to provide complete training, allowing them to learn all skills for the safeguarding of the patients, accurate diagnosis of the patient, and an error-free test.
What is sonography?
Sonography is a diagnostic medical test that uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to create images, videos, or scans of the human body, helping healthcare professionals make accurate diagnoses and treatments of the patient. A sonogram, in everyday language, is known as an ultrasound test.
How long does it take to become a sonographer?
To earn a certificate, it might take around 12 months to 18 months to complete your course. For an associate degree, completing your degree in medical diagnostic sonography takes approximately 18 months to 2 years. On the contrary, earning a bachelor’s degree in medical diagnostic sonography takes up to four years.
What are the skills and responsibilities of a sonographer?
A sonographer’s work must be detail-oriented to obtain an error-free image to diagnose the disease accurately. In addition, a sonographer must focus on the screen and simultaneously move the transducer on the patient’s body while performing a sonogram test.
How to become a sonographer?
To become a sonographer, you can complete a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, you can obtain a career certificate and gain clinical experience to enhance your knowledge and learn more skills.
Why does it take so long to become a sonographer?
As ultrasound technicians deal with high-frequency ultrasound waves, they must complete their training and courses. Therefore, sonography courses are long enough to provide complete training, allowing them to learn all skills for the safeguarding of the patients, accurate diagnosis of the patient, and an error-free test.
I want to thank Ethan for helping me write this article, as he is currently enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree in medical diagnostic sonography at one of the well-known universities in the United States. He enhanced my knowledge about this field and told me about the duration it takes to become a professional sonographer in the United States.