Sonography offers some of the most lucrative job opportunities in the healthcare industry at the moment, since there has been an increase in the usage of ultrasound imaging to monitor a wide range of health conditions and even fetal health and development. Many young people are nowadays being drawn Sonography by the attractive combination of high pay and strong job prospects coupled by the fact that their training is relatively shorter compared to other medical imaging professionals. The average yearly income for sonographers is $65,800 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2011 report. The report also projected that there was going to be a 44% increase in demand for sonographers between 2010 and the year 2020, this is the best job prospect for any profession. So Sonography will remain a very marketable and highly rewarding profession for years to come. Here is an indication of how long it can take for you become a certified sonographer depending on the channel you take:

Two or four-year degrees

You can enter the trade by completing a two-year educational program at a college or training hospital. The training at the said institutions impact on prospective sonographers a good understanding of the basic sciences, human anatomy, human physiology and the interpretation of ultrasound images. A good training program should offer hands-on clinical experience through working with patients, which can be part of the core curriculum or by placing students in hospitals or clinics. Some colleges offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs in Sonography, which are good way for ambitious sonographers to speed promotions into management and supervisory roles.

One-year certificate programs

Other qualified professionals in the healthcare industry can become sonographers by taking approved one-year certificate programs. Healthcare professionals who can use this route include: registered nurses, radiographers, CT and MRI technologists and physician assistants. It is assumed that the mentioned professionals have already completed similar training programs and therefore need only to learn the portion of the course work that only pertains to ultrasound. That portion of course work that is specific to Sonography is often condensed and offered in accredited one-year certificate programs, which consist of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. Often employers in the medical sector do offer assistance for instance flexible scheduling or tuition reimbursements to members of their staff who are enrolled in certificate programs.

Certification and Licensing

After training, one needs to go through a certification and licensing process that varies from one location to another. For one to be certified, he/she needs to pass the examinations offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). It is only after passing the certification examination can one become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Different States have different requirements for one to practice as a sonographer, while there are some States where one can practice as a sonographer without being licensed, a vast majority of the States require one to get licensed before he/she can practice.

Get to know more about: Career in Radiography and Sonographers.