There is no other state like Alaska. It is remote, beautiful and offers a wealth of opportunities to experience outdoor adventures in places like Glacier Bay National Park and the Chugach Mountains. Alaska’s health care industry has been steadily growing over the last 20 years according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. As the population ages, ultrasound technicians will find increasing opportunities for employment throughout the state and continuing well into the next decade.
How to Become a Sonographer in Alaska?
There are several educational paths students can choose when they are interested in becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Though there are no CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technician schools in Alaska, students can either attend an online school or attend an out-of-state school. Degree options include a certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, an Associate Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, or a Bachelor’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Not every school offers every option.
Students interested in specializing will want to choose a program that offers the concentration desired, whether it is vascular sonography, cardiac sonography or pediatric cardiac sonography. All students can become certified by taking the ARDMS certification exams after graduation. Credentials that can be earned include Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Passing the correct exams can also lead to a credential as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer. A third possibility is to earn a credential as a Registered Vascular Technologist.
Schooling Option 1: Accredited Schools in the Closest States
Some students prefer to attend a sonography program in-person rather than take online courses. There are good reasons for choosing the on-campus option:
- More opportunities to network with faculty and fellow students
- Increased interactions and discussions during class
- Classes are offered on a fixed schedule
- Broadens the educational experience
- Gives students wider choice of schools
The location that is ideal is entirely dependent on the needs of the student. The closest states to Alaska that have schools with CAAHEP accredited sonography programs and offer degrees in Diagnostic Medical Sonography are:
Schooling Option 2: Accredited Online Ultrasound Programs
There are two ultrasound technician online accredited schools available for those who want to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer but cannot attend an out-of-state school. Students complete all didactic course online and then work with the school to arrange for clinical training in as convenient location as possible.
Washburn University – get contact information
Washburn University at Topeka, Kansas has been offering a distance-learning program for more than 11 years, and students who complete the program can sit for the ARDMS or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) exams.
Jackson College – get contact information
A second online program is Jackson College in Jackson, Michigan. Students can complete all the didactic courses online but must complete the clinical requirements in a preapproved clinical setting.
Please visit the best school directory for accredited sonography programs to find the top program for you to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer in 2017.
Salary and Career Outlook for Sonographers in Alaska
Alaska does not have a large population, yet it has 90 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers working in various facilities in 2015. That equates to about 0.127 ultrasound technician per 1,000 residents. Though the job concentration per capita is low, the location quotient is higher than the national average. This means there is a higher concentration of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers compared to the national average concentration statistics.
The average annual salary for sonographers in Alaska per the May 2015 was $78,840. This is about 11 percent higher than the national average annual wage of $70,800. The lower 10 percent on the pay scale earn $48,510 and the upper 10 percent earn $100,320, which is excellent pay. The Anchorage Alaska region is one of the best paying areas, and sonographers earn an average of $77,210 annually.
Nationally, projected employment is expected to grow by 43.6 percent during the years 2010 through 2020, compared to 33.3 percent in Alaska. In summary, the average wages paid are higher than the national average at every percentile, and the employment opportunities are very good.