Ultrasound Technician Degrees: Certificate, Associate and Bachelors

If you aspire to be an ultrasound technician, you will need to obtain an associate or bachelor healthcare degree before you can seek employment within the clinical health ultrasound program. If you have a busy schedule or cannot attend regular classes, then enrolling with an online ultrasound technician school can be an affordable and flexible choice.

There are a number of online medical training schools that provide quality education and training for students wanting to become a successful ultrasound technician. Generally there are three different program styles; one year certificate programs, two year associate programs and four year bachelor degree programs.  Of these programs the two year associate program is the most common and widely used training program as it is the minimum requirement to work as an ultrasound technician in any hospital or health care centre. Students can earn a certificate, associate degree or bachelor degree in ultrasound technology via online ultrasound technician schools. The one year certificate programs are for those who are already involved in the health care field. Typically, experienced people can join this program to improve their career opportunities and for increased job security. Those who are new to this field or professional sonographers who want to gain additional credentials and specialty training can enroll in either the associate or bachelor degree program.

In the certificate program, students are introduced to the field of ultrasound technology, and will learn the medical terminology, the physics of sonography, and how to use the sonography equipment. A certificate program takes about a year to complete where students work closely with faculty and classmates via online lectures and seminars, e-mails and live chat. They are given local practical and laboratory assignments. The courses are more focused on the basic medical training and education where they are taught about organs and other structures of human body, ultra sound procedures, techniques and instrumentation. Some schools provide further training and education to prepare student for national registry exams which are often necessary to find a job or to apply for an associate degree program or bachelor degree program.

Many entry level jobs for ultrasound technology require an associate degree, therefore a graduate must have an associate degree to enter the workforce.  At the associate level program, a student is trained to work with sonography equipment and conduct examinations, how to work with health care teams, communicate using medical terminology, and understand how to apply the learnt skills to real life settings.  The externship program, laboratory projects and classroom instructions will help to develop your skills. You can also choose a particular field to specialize like obstetrics, abdominal sonography or vascular sonography. The curriculum is similar to that for a certificate but in this program students are more focused on clinical work to gain more experience which will increase the chances to seek employment. The online classes create a favorable environment between teachers and classmates to interact with each other through lectures, discussions and study groups, thus offering the students a better learning experience.

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      The bachelor degree program offers students the opportunity to master their skills and is an advantage to those who are pursuing management positions or advanced study and expertise in the field. This program combines general academic courses with major courses for higher level education and advanced research and study. The students learn the advanced ultrasound techniques and complex procedures to specialize in the field. This program includes at least two terms of clinical work at a local healthcare center.  Students learn advanced skills through online lectures, discussion and live chat. The technical requirements or infrastructures may vary from school to school but a high speed internet, a well configured computer with headsets, webcams and microphones are recommended.

      The latest ultrasound technology skills require practical knowledge and hands on expertise along with interaction with patients and physicians, and to achieve these requirements, online schools use a hybrid process. In this process the online portions are presented to students using special learning software programs and through live video lectures and discussion.  The onsite learning requirements are conducted at local laboratories and health facilities where they can interact with the patients and physicians and learn more about the equipment they will be using. The externship or internship programs are conducted at licensed health centres, which are the most important element of online education because here they can apply the learned skills to real life settings. You will work like an official ultrasound technician and gain experience which will be beneficial for you when searching for jobs.

      If you are planning to join an online ultrasound technician school then first of all you should check whether the school is accredited by Council for Accreditation of Allied Heal Education Program (CAAHEP).  Graduates from CAAHEP accredited ultrasound programs are directly eligible to take the ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic medical Sonography) examination, which provides certification to gain employment at any hospital or health care facility. Those ultrasound technicians who have not graduated from a CAAHEP accredited ultrasound program will face a more complicated path to gain certification. The online programs are presented via internet service and you can take the classes from your own computer within the convenience of your own home.  Therefore a high speed internet service with a well configured computer along with headsets, microphones and webcams are required. Generally, ultrasound technology is a practical based education; therefore the internship or externship program presented by the schools should contain practical learning elements, conducted at well equipped health care centre facilities.

      Ultrasound technician schools that provide online education and training to students should primarily focus on the practical based elements of the training rather than just the lectures and theoretical based learning. As sonography education has a large practical learning component, online schools should demonstrate the practical portion of their courses at well equipped and managed laboratories and health care centers. Students should be able to learn to interact and communicate with the patients and physicians, and work with the latest technology equipment to get real life experience.




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