Online Ultrasound Technician Schools

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Enhance Well-Being Through Medical Imaging

Ultrasound technicians do much more than monitoring preborn babies: they are involved in evaluating and diagnosing health conditions throughout the lifespan. Also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, these technicians assist doctors and patients in hospitals, medical clinics, and private practices. Because this position requires less time commitment than some other careers in the medical arena, it can be a good avenue for students who want to enter this in-demand field. The following page explains the online program options available to ultrasound tech students.

Ultrasound Technician: Milestone Map

Earning your credentials as an ultrasound technician may be the first in many achievements during your academic and professional career. Below is a map that highlights some of the milestones one could accomplish during their career.

High school

Took physics and advanced algebra classes.

Online
Associate’s Degree

Took classes in obstetrics and gynecological sonography.

Entry-level job

Worked at a pregnancy center as an ultrasound technician.

Specialized certification

Earned certification in obstetrics and gynecological ultrasound.

Career Advancement

Scored job promotion at private practice

Research

Assisted in research for peer-reviewed article about common fetal diseases.

Ultrasound Tech Schools: The Online Experience

Earning your ultrasound technician degree online is a great option for those who desire flexibility in their academic schedule. While online programs are less common, many schools are beginning to offer at least a portion of the required classes online.

Online ultrasound technician programs require a mix of classroom and clinical time if you are pursuing your associate degree. Due to the nature of the skills needed as a practicing technician, hands-on experience in a clinic, hospital, or specialist’s office is a vital part of the curriculum. Some schools offer bachelor’s degree programs entirely online if you are already a certified sonographer. Because prior work experience can count toward the clinical requirements, students can complete the classroom components online while continuing to work in your field.

When preparing to begin an online ultrasound technician program, consider how well you are able to manage your time in order to complete online assignments, as well as your availability for in-person labs and clinical requirements. Research what online or on-campus resources are available for students in the program so you can connect with peers and instructors for any additional support you may need. Reliable access to the internet is also important to ensure you can participate in online discussions, log in to any university portals, and submit assignments.

Top Ultrasound Tech Online Schools: 2017

After an online degree in ultrasound tech, graduates have many opportunities to grow and continue learning. They can continue working as a sonographer in a physician’s office or hospital or earn specialized certification to become a leader in their field. Finding an online program requires some research to ensure the program is of the right caliber and offers class sizes small enough that each student can receive the attention they need and deserve. We’ve looked at online programs in ultrasound technology to find the best of 2017.

University Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
State Fair Community College Score99.43
Net Price
Financial aid %14%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

When it was founded in 1968, State Fair Community College enrolled 436 students. Today, SFCC has grown to serve more than 5,000 students from 14-counties in Missouri. Its online associate of science degree program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography allows applicants the choice of a general or cardiac degree track. Programs begin each August with application deadlines the previous March. The 88-credit-hour program can be completed in 22 months. Students can also pursue the degree on campus in Sedalia. Upon completion, graduates are eligible to sit for Missouri certification exams to begin working in their specialization.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
North Central Missouri College Score91.47
Net Price
Financial aid %21%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

North Central Missouri College was founded in 1925 in Trenton. Today it serves 1,458 students on campus and through satellite campuses in Bethany and Maryville. NCMC’s 20-month Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is held partly on campus and at the Hillyard Technical Center (HTC) in St. Joseph. Five days per week. Students complete classroom prerequisites and general education requirements at NCMC. Graduates are prepared to take certification examinations in four specialties: Breast Abdomen/Small Parts, Vascular Technology, and OB/GYN. Application deadlines are in February each year. Students with previous college experience can apply for transfer credit.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
St Philip's College Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %15%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

St Philip's College, founded in 1898, is one of the nation’s oldest community colleges. Today it holds designations as a historically Black college and a Hispanic-serving institution. More than 11,000 students attend studies on campus while more than 7,000 are enrolled in online degree programs. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is held at the MLK Campus, Center for Health Professionals. The degree takes 22 months to complete, including one summer semester. This general track program focuses on Abdominal, Obstetrical and Gynecological DMS. Graduates are prepared to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists examination with a specialty in Sonography.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Washburn University Score99.69
Net Price
Financial aid %58%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate34%

Washburn University, located in Topeka, was established by members of the Congregational Church in 1865. Today, more than 7,500 students pursue programs at the College of Arts and Sciences and schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing. The university’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program offers a two- and four-year degree. Specialties are offered in general, vascular, general/vascular, and cardiac fields. Both programs have offered didactic courses in an online format for more than 11 years, with clinical experiences offered in a range of professional settings. Graduates are qualified to sit for appropriate ARDMS or CCI certification examinations.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Misericordia University Score98.74
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate68%

In 1924, the Sisters of Mercy founded Misericordia University, making it the first four-year institution of learning in Luzerne County. Since the 1970s, MU has been a co-educational university and today serves more than 3,000 students on its upper and lower campuses near Wilkes-Barre. The full time Bachelor degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a hybrid program blending on-campus coursework with online studies. Students can sit for the ARRT Sonography exam. Practicing sonographers can elect to complete an Express Diagnostic Medical Sonography Bachelor Degree on a part-time basis. Sonographers with credentials can apply earned credits toward the 125-credit express degree.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Siena Heights University Score97.80
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%

Founded as a Catholic University in Adrian in 1919, Siena Heights University became a coeducational institution in 1969. Today, as one of the nation’s 18 Dominican Catholic colleges and universities, SHU serves 2,700 students. The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree in Radiologic Technology program requires applicants to hold an Associate of Applied Science Radiologic Technology degree or a combination of hospital-based training, two years of related work experience, and ARRT registry. The program includes no additional RT training, focusing instead on a curriculum that satisfies bachelor degree general education requirements. Students can also complete the Associate of Applied Science RT degree at SHU’s Adrian and Southfield campuses.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Fort Hays State University Score96.04
Net Price
Financial aid %72%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate41%

Fort Hays State University was established on 200 acres in Hays, KS in 1902. FHSU currently enrolls more than 14,210 campus students, with another 6,000 students pursuing degrees online. The 55-credit-hour core making up the Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Diagnostic Sonography includes 22 credit-hours of practice experience (12 months) with local clinical affiliates. Coursework is completed in five semesters, including one summer of studies. Specialties include abdomen and superficial structures, musculoskeletal, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatric echocardiography, neurosonography, vascular, ophthalmology, breast, and adult echocardiography. The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Score94.46
Net Price
Financial aid %83%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate67%

Established in Omaha in 1891, Nebraska Methodist College serves 1,000 students dedicated to the study of art and science of healthcare. The focus is on service-learning experiences and community-based education affiliated with the Methodist Health System. The 21-month sonography program combines didactic instruction with hands-on clinical training. The 76 credit-hour degree includes the Educated Citizen Core Curriculum. Prerequisites include completion of college algebra, physics (including a lab), psychology, anatomy/physiology, and medical terminology. There are electives in clinical experience and clinical externships. Graduates are prepared to take American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) abdomen and obstetrics/gynecology examinations.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6Oregon Institute of Technology Score94.03
Net Price
Financial aid %63%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate48%

Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) was founded in 1947. Every degree program is based on theory and practice, blending clinics, lab-based classes, and externships in addition to the general-education core. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography baccalaureate program, located at the Klamath Falls campus, is comprised of 192 credits to be completed in four years. The competitive admission program gives preferences to applicants with previous coursework in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Graduates are prepared for certification exams offered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). More than six scholarship programs are available to DMS applicants.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7MCPHS University Score89.93
Net Price
Financial aid %85%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate66%

MCPHS University was founded as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1823, making it Boston’s oldest institution of higher learning. Today it offers programs through campuses in Boston, Worcester, and Manchester. Baccalaureate degrees in Diagnostic Medical Sonography are offered at the Boston and Worcester campuses. Sonography students complete 1,000 hours of hands-on clinical training across New England. The accelerated bachelor degree DMS program can be completed in three years. The MCPHS fast-track program for applicants with previous college work leads to a degree in 15-24 months. Students can choose from a General Track or Echocardiography Track.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Adventist University of Health Sciences Score87.29
Net Price
Financial aid %4%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%

Nursing education was the first program offered at Adventist University of Health Sciences in 1913. The sonography program was launched in 1988. Partnered with the Adventist Health System, the university offers a Christ-centered education with extensive clinical opportunities. The application deadline to the sonography degree program is December 31 each year, with programs beginning with a summer trimester. The full-time track is built on a two year, six-semester program with tracks in general sonography or cardiovascular sonography. Graduates are prepared to sit for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) certification examinations.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Health Professions (CHP) was established in 1971 to offer full degree programs as well as professional continuing education. The Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography has an annual March 1 deadline for applicants to begin courses in a cohort of 12 students the following academic year. The 120-credit degree program includes 48 semester credits of prerequisite studies. ARDMS-certified sonographers can complete the degree without any required clinical rotations. Upon completing the degree, graduates can take American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification examinations.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Ultrasound Technician Online Program Types

The type of program you decide to pursue depends on the time available for you to dedicate to your education, and how you would like your professional career to advance. Most employers require an associate degree as the minimum education level when hiring ultrasound technicians. While there are additional opportunities for those who want to earn their bachelor’s degree, one can begin building a successful career with two years of school versus four.

  • Certificate Programs
  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s

One-year training programs are available to earn an ultrasound technologist or diagnostic medical sonography certificate. Some employers do accept this as sufficient education to work as an ultrasound tech, but this option is generally recommended to those already working in the health field who are seeking to increase their skillset and marketability. Certificate programs usually focus on an advanced understanding of specific areas of study such as cardiovascular or obstetrics.

Associate degrees are the most prevalent degrees in this field and make up the majority of the 150 accredited ultrasound tech programs nationwide. This type of degree is the one that most employers require, especially for entry-level positions. Some colleges and universities only require a high school diploma as a prerequisite but others may prefer students to have taken a few introductory credits related to biology, medical terminology or physics. Be sure you understand the prerequisites required before you apply to an online school. The types of classes you can expect to take include anatomy, physiology, patient care, and medical ethics. In addition to online coursework, students should also be prepared to dedicate time in-person for labs and clinical requirements.

Bachelor’s degree programs in medical sonography are less common that associate degree programs, however a four-year degree can be worthwhile for some. Those with a more advanced degree may find advantages down the road as they pursue career improvements or seek to expand their skills outside the diagnostic environment. If your professional goals include moving into a director role or becoming an educator of diagnostic medical sonography, or if you are thinking of going to medical school down the road, then a four-year degree may be your best option. These programs are generally open to those who have already completed an associate degree. Admission requirements do vary and some schools may allow you to start from scratch or consider the completion of another two-year allied health program sufficient.

Common Online Courses: Ultrasound Technician

When comparing both online and traditional schools, similar coursework will be found among ultrasound technician programs. These will include a combination of math and science classes, courses focused on specializations such as vascular or abdominal sonography, as well as a humanities curriculum. Below is an overview of common courses you can expect to take during your academic career.

Human Anatomy & Physiology

This course is a comprehensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Curriculum in this class focuses on all major systems as they relate to health, disease, and healthcare.

Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation

Students will learn concepts of ultrasound physics, frequency, velocity, image optimization, and more. They will also learn how these concepts are applies to instrumentation controls, digital signal and image processing, and image quality.

Medical Terminology

During this class, students will examine the fundamentals of word analysis, specific to terms used to identify body systems, and emphasize the spelling, pronunciation, and definition of common medical terms.

Pathophysiology

This course covers general disease mechanisms with an emphasis on the disease processes within the body.

Principals of Communication

Since ultrasound technicians work closely with patients, physicians, and other medical staff, good communication skills are vital to your success. Most programs require a basic communication course that emphasizes the skills necessary to communicate effectively in a variety of situations including interpersonal communication, small group communication, and public speaking.

Choosing an Ultrasound Technician Program

With a variety of degree options and specializations available, it can be difficult to choose the right school for you. Here are some things to consider during your search for an online ultrasound technician program:

  • Make sure the schools you are considering have earned accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Does the program meet the standards of the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers?
  • Determine which certificate or degree makes the most sense for you in terms of the time you have to dedicate to your education and how you would like your career to advance. And remember, you can always go back later for additional certifications or a more advanced degree.
  • Understand the necessary pre-requisites required by the programs you are considering, including GPA and whether credits you have already earned will transfer.
  • Does the program allow you to specialize in a particular area of sonography such as vascular, cardiac, or obstetrics?
  • Are there in-person elements to the program, such as labs or clinical rotations, and will these be feasible with your schedule?
  • Find out if the school offers additional resources such as support services or career counseling.
  • Ensure you qualify for financial aid and that the school accepts the aid you will be receiving.

Accreditation for Ultrasound Tech Programs

Graduation from an accredited program is one of the first things a potential employer will look at when considering a candidate for a position. An institution’s accreditation ensures that certain standards have been met in terms of administration, resources, faculty, and facilities. Accreditation among health-related disciplines is also an assurance that a qualified workforce is providing healthcare services.

The first thing to look for when you begin comparing online ultrasound technician programs is that they are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. Through their 23 review committees, the CAAHEP currently accredits more than 2,000 educational programs in 28 health science professions.

Online Enrollment Timeline: Ultrasound Technician

As you consider a career as an ultrasound technician and research online schools offering this program, it can be helpful to outline the necessary steps leading up to when you will begin classes. Making a list of key dates will ensure that you are prepared and don’t miss any deadlines. The following list maps out a few of those necessary steps to starting an associate degree in ultrasound tech.

Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1

Apply to online colleges

9-12 months
Step 2

Apply for financial aid

9 months
Step 3

Register for classes

4-6 months
Step 4

Graduate from high school

3-4 months

Step 5

Earn CPR certification

3-4 months

Before your classes begin and while you are working toward your degree, there are additional things you can do to prepare for classes and your career.

  • Take math and science classes in high school, especially advanced algebra, physics, and biology. This will not only better prepare you for your college curriculum, but also ensures that you have a strong interest and aptitude in these subjects.
  • While in school, seek job opportunities in a healthcare organization so you can become familiar with the work environment you may experience upon graduation.
  • Take additional communication or business classes to better prepare for the non-clinical aspects of the profession.
  • As you near graduation, research and begin studying for certification exams such as those offered by the ARDMS.
  • Consider specialized certification courses you can take post-graduation.
  • Join a professional organization such as the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) which will allow you to network with other professionals and stay abreast of continuing education opportunities and other resources.
  • Maintain your Basic Life Support certification since most employers will require this of prospective candidates.

Ultrasound Technician: Specializations

Ultrasound technicians work closely with patients and physicians in a variety of health organizations—from hospitals to private practice—which means your work environment will vary depending on where you seek and find employment. Those who work in a hospital setting may experience varied hours and be asked to cover on-call shifts. Technicians working in private practices will work a more traditional and consistent schedule.

Successful ultrasound technicians are detail oriented, have excellent hand-eye coordination, and strong interpersonal and communication skills. They also have an aptitude for understanding complex machinery and computerized instruments. The projected job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers is 26 percent, much faster than the national average.

Graduates with a degree in ultrasound technology may go on to work as diagnostic medical sonographers, specializing in areas like abdominal, fetal echocardiography, or neurosonography. Most diagnostic imaging professionals have at least one certification but many have multiple certifications. Other careers for graduates of online ultrasound technician programs include vascular technologist or cardiac sonographer.

Career Description National Median Annual Salary (2014) Minimum Education & Licensure
Ultrasound Technician Ultrasound technicians, or diagnostic medical sonographers, specialize in creating images of the body’s organs and tissues that physicians use to make a diagnosis. $67,530 Associate or bachelor’s degree and certification from the ARDMS
Registered Vascular Technologist Vascular technologists create images of blood vessels and collect data that helps physicians diagnose disorder affecting blood flow. $54,330 Associate or bachelor’s degree and certification in vascular sonography
Cardiac Sonographer (Echocardiography) Cardiac sonographers monitor the cardiac systems of patients to identify any abnormalities that may be present. $58,859 Associate or bachelor’s degree and certification from ARDMS or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014)
PayScale.com (2014)

Ultrasound Technician Licenses & Certifications

Upon graduation from an accredited program, additional professional certifications are available to ultrasound technicians. While these certifications may not be required by prospective employers, they can set you apart from other candidates.

Most common in the field of sonography is certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The ARDMS certification is recognized internationally and the organization offers examinations and awards credentials in the following:

Additionally, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers certification in sonography, vascular sonography, and breast sonography. The exams consist of questions about patient care, physical principles of ultrasound, and relevant sonographic procedures and competencies for each certification.

To add an additional level of communication, protection, and record keeping, some states (including Oregon, New Mexico, West Virginia, and New Jersey) have begun to license sonographers. In lieu of independent licensing requirements, most states recognize the criteria set forth by ARDMS and/or ARRT

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Additional Resources