Types of Ultrasound Technician Training

Ultrasound, also called sonography, is an interesting and lucrative profession in the allied health field that is not very hard to get into. It involves assisting doctors and other health practitioners by administering ultrasound imaging procedures. Ultrasound technicians also adjust and maintain the ultrasound machines themselves and generally handle the technical side of the whole diagnostic process.

There are a number of different educational options for someone pursuing a career in ultrasound. These range from shorter and less detailed programs to more extensive degree courses of study. In addition, there are different areas of concentration and specialization in ultrasound. The following are some of these different types of ultrasound d training:

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in ultrasound are the shortest term ultrasound training programs available. These programs go over the fundamentals of sonography and result in a certificate. They are usually offered by career or vocational schools. These programs may last I n the neighborhood of one year, sometimes a year and a half.

Though it is more common to get either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in medical ultrasound (which we’ll discuss next) one year programs can be a good way to get started working in the field. Employers will often hire people who have certificates, though possibly not for higher level and better paying ultrasound positions. There is always the option however to go back and get further training, and at least the certificate allows an individual to begin actually working and getting practical real world experience.

Associate’s Degree Programs

Associate’s degree programs are a common type of degree for someone entering the field to get. They are, in fact, the most common. A two year program is quite manageable for many people and allows them to enter the workforce in a fairly short time frame. Associate degree courses of study can give quite a thorough background in both the theory and practical application of ultrasound techniques in the 2 year curriculum.

These programs are offered by a variety of types of educational institution: Community colleges and junior colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and ordinary four year academic colleges and universities. They also may be offered at teaching hospitals which are discussed a bit further below.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s degree programs go still more in depth into ultrasound. These programs may also include other types of medical imaging training such as echocardiography and radiologic imagine (i.e. x rays). If ultrasound is your main area of interest and you don’t feel you want to get into other types of medical imaging, an Associate’s degree program is probably fine. But if you feel you want to branch out, going for the four year degree can be a wise decision. Though you have to spend more time in the educational phase, it can lead to greater job diversity and opportunity after graduation.

Teaching Hospitals

Many hospitals offer training in ultrasound technology. These hospitals are great places to get a real feel for what sonography in a real medical situation is like. Programs offered by teaching hospitals include class work and a lot of practical experience (though traditional schools have to include practical experience instruction as well).

Online Programs

There do exist online or distance learning programs in ultrasound/medical sonography. However, these programs really only cover part of the training necessary to actually become a technician. This is because ultrasound is such a “hands on” type of field. Getting practical clinical experience is an important part of any ultrasound training, and online schools can’t deliver it. They can however give a student the theoretical background necessary to get into ultrasound. Then the student can set up clinical training at a teaching hospital or some other type of educational institution.


Costs of ultrasound training in the most common contexts – that is Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees – are comparable to the cost of going to school for other majors or academic disciplines. This depends on the school but is often somewhere in the range of $20,000 to $50,000 annually. Just as with other areas of study, financial aid is often available to students depending on their financial situation and income level.

Cheaper options are offered by career schools that offer certificate programs and by various on the job training situations such as study and work in a hospital. These costs vary but are often significantly less expensive than attending more traditional educational institutions.

If this article was useful, then please check the following articles to get more insight on ultrasound technician career:

How to Become a Certified Ultrasound Technician
How to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Ultrasound Technician Schools
What is the Difference between a Radiology Technician and an Ultrasound Technician?
Top 5 Ultrasound Technician Schools

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