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Sonography professionals use ultrasound imaging to diagnose and monitor a broad array of medical conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 12% job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers between 2019 and 2029, triple the average rate of growth for all careers.
Many of these professionals work within specific fields, such as vascular technicians, breast sonographers, and other more specialized roles. Those looking to work in medical sonography may wish to supplement their existing healthcare experience with an online sonography certificate.
Working professionals and students in need of greater flexibility may prefer to pursue an online certificate in sonography. Fortunately, many accredited institutions offer accessible online options.
What Are the Best Online Certificate in Sonography Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top Three:
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|1||Jackson College||Jackson, MI|
|2||Washburn University||Topeka, KS|
|3||Loma Linda University||Loma Linda, CA|
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2021 Best Online Accredited Certificate in Sonography Programs
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|Jackson, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 14%||
JC's online certificate in sonography provides an accelerated path to career advancement for healthcare professionals. This program suits diagnostic medical and cardiac sonographers with current field experience who seek registered vascular technologist certification.
The 59-credit curriculum requires core and clinical coursework, including a maximum of 1,152 supervised clinical hours over twelve months. Learners complete a competency-based curriculum, which enables students with previous skills to advance through to the next course.
Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA for all coursework throughout the program and complete at least 15 credits at JC. Core requirements include sonographic instrumentation, basic physics, and vascular clinicals, culminating in a seven-week capstone course.
JC's online certificate in sonography is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
|Topeka, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
WU offers a diagnostic medical sonography program through the Allied Health Department. The university has offered an online certificate in sonography for more than a decade, taught by a faculty with more than 70 years of collective ultrasound experience.
The 40-credit curriculum prepares students to sit for credentialing exams through Cardiovascular Credentialing International or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The program includes 1,104 clinical hours; however, all didactic modules of the curriculum are delivered entirely online.
WU's central location enables students to choose from a variety of clinical experiences through comprehensive medical centers, small hospitals, private physicians' offices, and community clinics. WU offers annual start dates for the 12-month general track in August. Clinical rotations also begin in August of each year.
WU's certificate in sonography is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Loma Linda University
|Loma Linda, CA||Graduation Rate: 44%||
LLU offers an online certificate in cardiac sonography through its School of Allied Health Professions. The 12-month program features an annual start date in the fall for applicants who hold a previous undergraduate degree and pass the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Standard Physics and Instrumentation exam.
The 63-credit curriculum explores topics, such as Christian ethics and healthcare, professionalism in sonography, echocardiography, and ultrasound physics and instrumentation. Additionally, students must complete a four-module clinical rotation to earn the certificate.
LLU's certificate in sonography is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Medical Sonography and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
What Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Sonography Program?
Most standard programs take students 1-2 years to complete, but exact program length depends on the institution and whether students enroll part time or full time.
Individuals with an interest in rapidly evolving medical technology and the ability to maintain a compassionate bedside manner may enjoy a career in sonography.
Coursework in sonography certificate programs prepares students for qualifying exams, such as theSonography, Principles, and Instrumentation (SPI) exam, which can bolster credibility in a competitive market.
Most standard programs take approximately 1-2 years to complete, but exact program length depends on the institution and whether students enroll part time or full time. Those earning an online certificate in sonography may have the option to complete coursework at their own pace, resulting in an even greater variation in program length.
In many online sonography certificate programs, students receive supervised clinical experience in addition to traditional online coursework. In courses like clinical sonography, students gain experience in a hospital setting with the guidance of an instructor
Many programs allow students to pursue concentrations that align with their intended career paths. Some common concentrations include general ultrasound, vascular, and echocardiography.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Certificate in Sonography Program?
Sonography certificate programs help prepare graduates for qualifying exams such as theSPI exam. Courses focus largely on practical skills, anatomical knowledge, and equipment. In most online programs, students are able to build their skills in clinical settings.
- Introduction to Sonography
In this introductory course, students learn the basic principles of medical sonography and critical terminology used in the workplace. This course also covers ethical issues, ergonomics, and the basic history of sonography equipment.
- Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation
In this course, learners study the principles of ultrasound physics, examining how sound energy and ultrasound waves help create images of the body. Students also learn how to operate ultrasound equipment and transducers.
- Sonographic Cross-Sectional Anatomy
To effectively use sonographic imaging to diagnose and monitor medical conditions, professionals must first learn how to analyze the anatomical structures in sonographic images. This course teaches students to identify given anatomical structures and abnormalities.
- Clinical Sonography
Typically, this course takes place in a hospital or medical setting so that students can observe procedures and gain supervised experience. In this clinical setting, learners observe the procedures associated with various types of sonography, such as obstetrical sonography or echocardiography.
- Interventional Sonography
Beyond diagnostics, sonography can be an important tool in various invasive procedures. In this course, students explore how ultrasound imaging can provide increased visibility during operations. In addition, learners study essential sanitation procedures and equipment in a typical operating room.
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What Can I Do With an Online Certificate in Sonography?
Medical professionals with a certificate in sonography are qualified for rewarding, lucrative, and in-demand careers. The BLS projects 12% job growth for sonographers between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average growth rate of 4%.
Sonography professionals are often paid well for their work. Nevertheless, salaries depend on several factors, including area of specialization. For example, breast sonographers earned a median salary of $65,960 in 2019, while echocardiographers earned $66,020 in the same year.
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
This umbrella term refers to professionals who perform ultrasounds or sonograms, generating images of anatomical structures using high-frequency sound waves. Sonographic imaging is a versatile, non-invasive diagnostic tool. Diagnostic medical sonographers operate specialized equipment, including ultrasound transducers and ultrasound machines, to view patients' anatomy, searching for potential abnormalities.
- Cardiovascular Technologist
These individuals create diagnostic images of the heart and lungs. There are several types of cardiovascular technologists. Cardiographic or electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians, for example, observe the heart by attaching electrodes to a patient's chest and limbs, while pulmonary function technologists specialize in examining the lungs.
- Abdominal Sonographer
These specialized sonographers focus mainly on examining organs and structures within the abdomen. Abdominal sonographers generate and analyze images of organs like the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.
- Breast Sonographer
Ultrasounds can be non-invasive cancer screening tools, often used to follow up on physical exams and more closely examine internal structures. Breast sonographers use sonographic imaging to examine internal breast tissue for lumps and other abnormalities.
These professionals examine the heart's chambers and valves. Using a special instrument called a Doppler, echocardiographers can capture moving images of the heart's internal structures to study blood flow.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Sonography Programs
- What is sonography?
Sonography, or ultrasound, is a widely used imaging technique that captures pictures or videos of the body's internal structures using high-frequency sound waves. Sonographic technology is often used as a non-invasive diagnostic tool for various tissues and organs, and professionals frequently work within more specialized fields, such as obstetrics or cardiovascular health.
- How much does it cost to get a sonography certificate?
Like most postsecondary education programs, online sonography certificates are an investment. Although expenses depend on the institution and financial aid, programs typically cost $5,000-$25,000.
- Is a sonography certificate worth it?
Sonography is a lucrative and in-demand area. Many professionals enjoy helping patients find proper diagnoses and gain insights about their health. Sonography certificate programs can help professionals earn credentials, preparing them for the SPI exam. Although some individuals pursue sonography careers through a two-year degree, those with a healthcare background can save time with a one-year certificate program.
- How long does it take to get a sonography certificate?
Sonography certificate programs usually take students 1-2 years to complete. However, exact program length can vary based on the program and whether students enroll full or part time.
- What's the highest-paying job I can get with a sonography certificate?
According to the BLS, diagnostic medical sonographers earn a median annual salary of $68,750. Those employed at state, local, and private hospitals earn a median annual salary of $74,440, while those employed at outpatient care centers earn $89,880 per year.