CAAHEP accredited ultrasound programs stretch from coast-to-coast, and there are plenty of opportunities in 2017 and beyond for anyone who wants to become a sonographer. It is not a decision that should be made lightly though because it requires a time commitment, extended effort and the ability to master program requirements. It also means finding the best Diagnostic Medical Sonography schools that meet personal and educational needs.
Taking a Broad View
People considering a career in sonography are first attracted to the profession because they want to help people who have medical issues. They also like the excellent wages sonographers earn.
Per the latest salary data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sonographers earned a mean annual wage of $71,750 in 2016. California, Texas and Florida had the highest employment rates, followed by New York and Pennsylvania. Another attractive feature of the ultrasound technology career is that the federal government projects a 26.4 percent growth in the number of jobs for the period 2014-2024.
Additional Points to Consider
Following are some points to keep in mind while researching sonography programs.
CAAHEP Accredited Ultrasound Programs
Attend one of the top sonography schools which means attending a CAAHEP accredited sonography program. The schools will help students find a job and most have very high rates of success.
When comparing costs at various schools, keep in mind that students will need to pay for tuition, fees, textbooks, lab fees, uniforms, and other miscellaneous feeds. Fortunately, most schools offer financial aid. The few that do not are programs offered at medical centers that are not affiliated with any school. However, do not get discouraged if the preferred program is one of them because there are many scholarships that sonography students can apply for on their own.
There are plenty of opportunities to advance a sonography career, if willing to do what it takes to succeed.
The learning experience is comprised of a blend of classroom and clinical training, lab time, online coursework and/or homework assignments, interactive web-based instruction, and group participation. Both online and campus-based CAAHEP accredited Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs are intentionally intense and demand a student’s full-time attention and dedication.
Physical and Mental Stamina
The job of a sonographer requires physical and mental stamina. Sonographers assist patients on and off exam tables, transport patients, stand on their feet for hours at a time and spend many hours evaluating detailed images. They also are in continual contact with a variety of patients and medical staff.
Ultrasound technology is constantly advancing as researchers design new equipment, like the portable imaging unit, and design equipment capable of imaging an expanded set of human systems, tissues and organs. Sonographers who enjoy successful careers are lifelong learners who complete ultrasound continuing education credits to maintain ARDMS registration and who spend personal time staying current on new ultrasound technologies and research.
As is true for any job, people starting their careers may be asked to work swing or evening shifts and holidays. As the sonographer earns seniority, she or he will have more opportunities to select schedules that meet personal needs.
Sonographers can specialize and eventually will get top pay, if they stay current on industry trends and advances. The sonographer can specialize in abdomen; breast; obstetrics and gynecology; adult, pediatric and/or fetal echocardiography; pediatric sonography; vascular technology; and musculoskeletal sonography (Learn more: 10 ultrasound specialists). Since the neurosonology exam content comprises a large part of the pediatric sonography exam, the ARDMS has discontinued the neurosonology specialty, effective 2015.
Accredited Ultrasound Programs Enhance Career Start
The way to start a new career as a sonographer as quickly as possible is to attend one of the CAAHEP accredited ultrasound programs. After graduating, students are able to schedule their ARDMS exams without needing additional clinical training. The sooner a student earns ARDMS registration, the sooner the student can begin looking for a job.
One of the common questions is: “Are there schools near me?” The answer is: “Yes.” There are accredited ultrasound programs almost in every state. Anyone determined to become a sonographer can find a program that is the right fit. It just takes advanced planning and determination to succeed.
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