This guide provides vital information regarding top online associate degrees in sonography. The following section highlights some of the best programs in the United States, and each blurb contains a link to the degree website for additional details.
Our guide also provides information on common academic and admission requirements, as well as details regarding different career paths. You can also review answers to commonly asked questions.
What Are the Best Sonography Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Two:
|1||State Fair Community College||Sedalia, MO|
|2||Jackson College||Jackson, MI|
Diagnostic medical sonographers operate ultrasound machines and related equipment that provide medical professionals with vital information about patients' health. On the job, they often specialize in a specific bodily area, such as the abdomen or heart.
Students who earn online associate degrees in sonography can pursue entry-level roles in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment in the sonography field to grow by 19% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than the average projected growth for all U.S. careers.
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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Sonography Programs
State Fair Community College
|Sedalia, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Located in Sedalia, Missouri, SFCC enrolls about 4,700 students in a variety of academic and technical programs. The school offers an associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography that totals 80.5 credits. Designed as a hybrid track, candidates take online didactic classes and gain hands-on skills through on-site laboratory training and clinical internships.
The curriculum covers topics such as patient and healthcare communication, vascular sonography, and medical terminology. Students also take a career development course, exploring job options and licensing requirements in the allied health field. This online associate in sonography program allows candidates to pursue a generalist track or opt for a specialization in cardiac ultrasound.
Applicants must submit ACT, ACT Compass, or ACCUPLACER scores. This program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
|Jackson, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 14%||
JC provides over 70 certificates and degrees, many of which students can obtain remotely. The catalog includes an online associate of applied science in general sonography. This program is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs. Graduates of this 80-credit program are prepared for entry-level employment in hospitals, clinics, and other diagnostic imaging facilities.
Courses cover topics like sonographic instrumentation, orientation, and techniques. Students gain the skills needed to conduct sonographic scanning of the abdomen, small parts, pelvis, and gravid uterus of adult and pediatric patients. To earn their online associate degree in sonography, candidates must also complete at least 1,350 supervised clinical hours in an approved clinical education setting.
This program offers a spring entry date and accepts about 25 students each year. Applicants must complete prerequisite coursework in human biology, anatomy, and physiology.
Online Associate in Sonography Program Overview
After earning an online associate degree in sonography, you can qualify for one of many entry-level careers. However, like with most career fields, sonography offers greater career and salary potential to professionals who possess a bachelor's degree. For example, some graduates consider enrolling in a degree completion program to prepare for a managerial position.
Many associate programs prepare professionals to earn specific credentials in areas like abdomen/small parts and OB/GYN sonography. You can also improve transferable skills related to communication, research, writing, and analysis. These skills help professionals interpret patients' medical results and work with colleagues.
The curriculum of an online associate degree in sonography emphasizes general education and major courses. General education requirements often include English, history, and math classes. Major courses introduce degree-seekers to different types of sonography and medical applications. The following section outlines five common classes in this discipline.
Common Associate in Sonography Degree Courses
- Communication Fundamentals
Communicating with patients and peers is a significant part of the sonography profession. Therefore, students hone these skills during a program's first semester. Course activities may include performing original speeches and receiving feedback from peers. Programs often pair communication fundamentals with an interpersonal communication course.
- Human Biology
Human biology classes introduce degree-seekers to major biological systems and explore organs, muscles, and the skeleton. Other course topics include evolution and modern scientific discoveries in the field. Students may also complete lab work, gaining practical experience with and a greater understanding of different anatomical structures.
- Sonographic Techniques
This course teaches professional best practices that result in precise sonography results. Students learn how to use medical devices and position patients to ensure that medical equipment works properly.
- Abdomen and Small Parts Sonography
Although degree-seekers may further specialize after graduation, many programs feature courses in sonography subfields. This course focuses on the abdomen's structures and organs. Other coursework involves analyzing different medical conditions and injuries that affect the abdomen, such as cancer and impact trauma.
- Clinical Experiences
The curriculum for top online associate degrees in sonography include clinical experiences. During clinicals, degree-seekers work under a sonographer's guidance to practice scanning, communicating with patients, and interpreting medical data. Each student works in a clinical setting for upwards of 1,500 hours to prepare for a certification exam.
Online Associate in Sonography Admission Requirements
Gaining admission into a college does not guarantee admission into a sonography program. Competitive programs cap enrollment, selecting the most promising candidates from a student pool. To increase your admission chances, try and earn top grades in program prerequisites and general education courses.
Sonographers need acute vision and hearing to work ultrasound equipment successfully. Also, they must possess the physical strength needed to move patients (as necessary) and stand for extended periods. They should also possess fine-tuned coordination skills and a steady, precise hand.
Many schools have minimum high school GPA requirements, which typically range from 2.0-3.0. Programs usually ask you to submit transcripts to demonstrate your achievements.
Some programs require applicants to spend 10-20 hours observing sonographers and ultrasound technicians in a clinical setting before they apply. Keep track of your time and have a certified medical professional verify your participation. Your college can help you find one or more observation placements.
This requirement is important for clinical placements and your future career. To complete a background check, make an appointment with a local law enforcement agency to give fingerprints and provide additional information. As processing times vary, start the background check process well in advance of deadlines.
Online Associate in Sonography Career Paths
Students with associate degrees in sonography can attain entry-level positions at hospitals and other clinical settings. As sonographers gain experience, they may qualify for additional duties and higher salaries. However, some related professions, such as clinical laboratory technologists, may require a bachelor's degree. As you consider your career goals, make sure to take note of educational requirements.
Although sonographers do not need a license to practice, they can specialize in a particular sonography subfield by earning a certificate. Specializations include abdominal, breast, brain, and OB/GYN. Your educational experience may allow you to pass one or more certification exams.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is a sonography degree hard?
Earning an online associate degree in sonography can pose different challenges, depending on your experience with online learning. Online courses tend to have less structure than on-campus courses, and some degree-seekers may struggle to balance degree requirements with other responsibilities.
- How long does it take to get a sonography degree?
Most students earn an associate degree in sonography in 2-3 years of full-time enrollment. However, if you have transfer credits or enroll in accelerated classes, you may be able to expedite graduation.
- What kind of jobs do sonography majors get?
Recent graduates can work as diagnostic medical sonographer technologists and technicians. Consider your interest in and the demand for different sonography subfields when determining which career path to follow.
- How much does a sonographer with an associate degree make?
According to the BLS, diagnostic medical sonographers in the U.S. earned a median salary of $74,320 in 2019. Professionals working in outpatient care centers took home the highest wages, earning about $90,000 per year.
- Is sonography a good career choice?
Sonography is an excellent career choice if you have a passion for medicine and improving patient outcomes. However, keep in mind that many sonographers work nights and weekends.
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