How Long Is the Schooling for an Ultrasound Tech Degree?

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Working as an ultrasound tech, or sonographer, allows you to help patients in the medical field in a position other than doctor or nurse. In this kind of role, you’ll work with patients to produce images of the body, which can be used by medical professionals to diagnose diseases and provide treatments. Sonography is a safer form of medical imaging than x-rays, since there is no radiation involved, but you still have to go through an ultrasound tech program to learn to use the machinery and care for patients effectively.

The time you’ll spend on your ultrasound tech degree education depends on your specialty and the type of degree you want to earn. Some employers hire ultrasound techs with little education in the field beyond the basics, while others require you to have more education than the average nurse. Overall, you’ll spend between one and four years as a full time student getting an education in the field of sonography.

The advantage to spending less time on your schools is that you can get started quickly in the field, which many workers find necessary in order to save money. On the other hand, if you spend the time to get a bachelor’s degree in ultrasound technology, you’ll have a much higher earning potential once you graduate. An advanced degree also allows you to specialize, so you can choose from more specific fields like abdominal sonography, OB-GYN sonography, or breast sonography.

Keep in mind that before you start any ultrasound tech program, you’ll need to meet certain prerequisites. Almost all programs require that you have a high school diploma or GED, and other common prerequisites include the ability to lift at least 50 pounds and the ability to bend and stoop. If you’re not currently in good physical shape, you may need to take the time to do some conditioning so you can perform the job successfully.

Of course, the time you devote to school every semester has an impact on how long it takes you to actually finish the program. Online programs for sonographers make it especially easy to complete programs on a part-time basis, which is optimal for non-traditional students in many cases. If you are already working as an ultrasound tech with a one-to-two year education, online programs make it possible for you to go back to school to complete your bachelor’s degree while still continuing to work in your field. You can also complete all of your education online, even as a traditional student.

Remember, for most ultrasound techs, the learning doesn’t stop once you graduate from college. You’ll go through on-the-job training with your employer to learn their company-specific rules and procedures, and many also provide you with continuing education opportunities, both required and optional. Take advantage of any learning opportunity presented to you, as this will not only help boost your skills as a sonographer, but it also means that you qualify for pay raises and promotions, as well as more advanced jobs, should you leave your employer to work elsewhere.

Top Online Ultrasound Tech Degree Programs

Having a degree in the healthcare field is a wise move for anyone looking to become a part of a growing medical field. Becoming an ultra sound tech generally requires some formal training, with the most popular form of education being a two-year degree in a field such as medical assisting, as there aren't really any degrees specific to ultrasound technicians. The following schools offer accredited online degree programs in related healthcare fields.

Kaplan University
AS in Medical Assisting
AS in Health Info Tech
Kaplan University - The medical assisting program from Kaplan University, while not an ultrasound technologist degree program, is a related healthcare service program and a flexible and affordable way for anyone to train to become a certified ultrasound technician. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant examination given by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Kaplan also offers a program in health information technology.
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Ultimate Medical Academy
AS in Medical Billing & Coding
AS in Health Sciences - Pharmacy Technician
AS in Health Sciences - Healthcare Technology & Systems
AS in Health Sciences - Medical Administrative Assistant
Ultimate Medical Academy - The Healthcare Technology and Systems degree from Ultimate Medical Academy is an associate's level degree program that is geared toward working professionals looking to begin their careers within the medical industry. Graduates of this program will be prepared for a variety of positions in hospitals, private practices, home health agencies, and more. UMA also offers a health science degree for becoming a Pharmacy Technician.
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Rasmussen College
AAS in Health IT
Rasmussen College - The healthcare information technology program allows students to learn medical coding skills when obtaining an A.A.S. degree from Rasmussen College. Note: This is not an ultrasound tech degree. Students learn to the techniques and skills required for maintaining patient files, medical records and disseminating data needed within their medical agency. Enrollees will also be required to receive management and supervisory training.
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