What Kind of Degree Do You Need to Be an Ultrasound Technician?

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As an ultrasound tech, you can easily make $60,000 annually, and some experienced workers even make six figure salaries. You’ll make more with an advanced degree in any field, and this is definitely true for ultrasound techs. You don’t need a degree to get started in this field, but many employers prefer educated workers, so you’ll have a better chance at finding a job if you go to college. There are many sonography educational paths you can consider.

The highest degree you can get directly in sonography is a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years to complete, though it depends on your specific program and whether you go to school full time or part time. The advantage to getting a bachelor’s degree is that you can specialize in one area of sonography, and your advanced education means that you’ll be eligible for higher-paying jobs. Although there are no master’s programs in this field directly right now, having a bachelor’s degree does allow you to consider a master’s degree in a related areas, such as health administration or public health.

Many ultrasound technicians option instead to get an associate’s degree. This type of program takes just two years instead of four, so you’ll be able to get started more quickly working in your field. Your education won’t be as specialized, but you’ll still learn the basics of sonography and patient care. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits both bachelor’s degree and associate’s degree programs, which are offered by colleges, universities, and hospitals. Through some of these programs, you can take classes online to get your degree.

Not every employer requires a degree. For some, a one-year training certificate is enough for employees to get started working as a sonographer. This is becoming more and more rare, however, since the job market is highly competitive and employees want to avoid mistakes that could lead to patient injury or lawsuits. So, although a degree is not legally required, getting one makes sense in most cases.

If you go through an associate’s degree program or bachelor’s degree program, you also have the choice of being certified with your state through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). While not required to legally practice sonography, most employers prefer to work exclusively with sonographers who have passed the certification exam. You aren’t eligible for the exam until you’ve gone through a degree program. Additionally, you can also seek specific certification in your ultrasound specialty. For example, Cardiovascular Credentialing International provides a certification program for sonographers specializing in the heart.

If you’re currently working as a sonography, you may be able to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree for free. Many employers provide tuition assistance programs to help their best employees get an advanced education, and you can also often participate in continuing education classes offered directly from your employer. Having a degree in ultrasound tech is the only way to ensure that your education leads to a job, so considering bachelor’s degree programs in this field makes sense.

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.

Purdue University
AS in Medical Assisting
Purdue University - The medical assisting program from Purdue 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. Purdue 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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