The best 10 accredited online colleges for ultrasound technicians could see you qualified within a year or build on the experience you’ve already gained in the industry.
Sonographers can receive training or pursue higher education at a range of universities in addition to accredited online colleges for ultrasound technicians. The benefit of studying fully remotely is that you don’t have to stop working while you gain your certification or degree. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics has highlighted, the career outlook is strongest for those who specialize in more than one area, so considering further education and training could improve your job security for life.
What Level of Education Do You Need to Become an Ultrasound Technician?
Degree programs and other program types can be found at both community colleges and universities throughout the nation. You don’t strictly need a bachelor’s degree to become an ultrasound technician; an associate’s degree meets the minimum education requirements for the industry. In some cases, this means you could complete your program in as little as a year by choosing a certificate program.
What Will You Learn With a Degree Related to Ultrasound Tech?
In addition to gaining a strong foundation in anatomy and physiology, physics, and math, you’ll typically spend your time learning about and practicing noninvasive procedures relating to cardiovascular or vascular sonography. In most cases, you’ll be expected to complete a set number of hours’ worth of clinical practice experience as part of the program before graduation.
What Are the Best Ultrasound Technician Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our methodology page.
Washburn University offers a diagnostic medical sonography program that leads to eligibility to sit for the ARDMS or CCI credential examinations. What’s more, as an enrolled student, you’ll choose to pursue one of three concentration tracks: General, Cardiac, or Vascular. Students located close to campus also benefit from a registered ultrasound facility for practical experience.
While all coursework is available in a distance-learning format, students in this program need to meet the clinical practice requirements. With that said, these placements can usually be arranged close to your home or place of study. Thanks to a large network of affiliate sites, students will have the opportunity to study in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, and other locations.
For sonography programs at Washburn University, tuition depends on the specific discipline chosen. Cardiac and vascular sonography students pay tuition of around $14,950 annually – $405 per credit hour – while general sonography undergraduates pay tuition of around $17,415.
Jackson College’s online medical sonography programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; JC is one of only two institutions in the country to hold this claim. In addition to pursuing the Associate’s in General Sonography, students can study vascular and cardiac sonography.
This program leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree. As a student at JC, in addition to completing coursework, you’ll practice and apply your knowledge by completing at least 1,350 supervised clinical hours. Working in hospitals and other clinics, you’ll specialize in both obstetrics and the abdomen.
Tuition is estimated at around $5,230 per academic year, with a total cost of attendance of around $19,582 annually. There’s also a financial aid and cost calculator available on the university’s website, if you’re interested in working out your own specific costs.
Siena Heights University offers a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology, which is essentially a degree-completion program. If you’ve already completed an Associate’s in Radiologic Technology, or, alternatively, if you have completed hospital-based training and have two years of work experience, then you can obtain your bachelor’s degree at SHU.
Owing to the program structure for this BS degree, there is no mandatory requirement for practical work in the curriculum, making it an entirely online program. SHU does offer an associate’s degree, and students can add a minor to their degree plan to further specialize. Students who have completed other specialty areas could be awarded credits toward their degree.
SHU’s online learning program has been recognized as the top-ranked online program in Michigan, in addition to other accolades. The undergraduate cost of attendance is estimated at around $39,072 annually, with a list of the most up-to-date fee schedules available on the school’s tuition and fees page.
For admission into Ferris State University’s certificate program, you’ll need to be a practicing member of the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. You’ll also need to be spending a minimum of four days each calendar month working as a sonographer, with evidence from your employer.
Once enrolled, students will complete a number of core classes that cover venous ultrasound, cerebrovascular ultrasound, and arterial subject matter. As a fully online and reasonably short certificate program, this curriculum is suited to working professionals who want to increase their skills and competence in the area of sonography. Undergraduate tuition at Ferris State University is estimated at around $12,404 per year, or $443 per credit hour. For online learners, an online learning fee of $12 per credit hour is applied to all remote courses. You can obtain more accurate estimates for this program by using the estimated cost calculator on the university’s website.
Fort Hays State University’s online medical diagnostic imaging program can be completed entirely remotely and leads to a Bachelor’s in Medical Diagnostic Imaging. You’ll have the opportunity to cross-train in numerous areas of imaging, such as in cardiovascular interventional technology, mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging. This is critical, as graduates with specialization in more than one area have the potential to be in greater demand in the job market.
FHSU’s program comprises 124 credits, around half of which will provide you with a strong foundation in general education. As part of your program, you will need to complete laboratory assignments; however, there is no need to participate in an internship or other clinical placement, making this one of the few fully online degree-completion programs of its kind in the nation.
The College of Health Professionals at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences offers two degree programs in imaging sciences: there’s a bachelor of science program for first-time undergraduate students and a fully online bachelor’s degree-completion program for students who already possess an associate’s degree in a relevant area.
The Bachelor of Science program is a typical 120-credit degree, which requires 35 credits of general education coursework and 85 credits of courses from the radiologic imaging sciences curriculum. The degree-completion program, on the other hand, requires less study and involves practicum courses; more information on both programs can be found on the school’s website.
The total cost of attendance for Arkansas residents is estimated at around $32,270, which includes tuition of around $21,250. For non-residents, this rises to around $59,640, owing to the increased cost of tuition.
State Fair Community College’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography leads to an Associate of Applied Science, comprising 80.5 credit hours. After completing this program, you’ll also qualify for professional licensing within the state, though you should check whether you’ll be eligible for certification or licensure in other states if you plan on working elsewhere.
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the degree offers general and cardiac tracks, each of which lasts for 22 months. You’ll complete courses online, participate in an on-campus sonography lab, and be expected to complete internships at assigned clinical sites. The general track provides study in subjects including vascular, gynecology, obstetrics, and abdominal areas of health.
SFCC offers some of the lowest online tuition rates around. Base tuition for most programs ranges from $117-$287 per credit, depending on whether you’re a Missouri resident and reside in-district.
Advent Health University offers the Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences, which has been ranked as No. 3 for Best Return on Investment among radiology programs. In this program, you’ll have the option of six specialty tracks, which include Imaging Leadership, Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Vascular Interventional, Sonography, and an Interdisciplinary track.
In addition to being a fully online program, this curriculum’s duration is flexible; some students complete the program in as few as 18 months, while others take longer, owing to a busy work schedule. All students also receive structured support, much like their campus counterparts, including library access, online tutorials, and counseling.
Fees are low at AHU, with a $20 undergraduate application fee and $300 per trimester matriculation fee. Undergraduate tuition for online programs is charged at a rate of around $540 per credit hour. For a more accurate idea of your costs, check out the university’s tuition calculator.
Oregon Institute of Technology offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography that can lead to a role as a qualified diagnostic medical sonographer. Course work in basic medical science is paired with ultrasound courses, and you’ll gain a general education foundation, too.
In order to be eligible for this degree program, you will need to be a Registered Diagnostic Sonographer under the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, specifically in the specialty areas of obstetrics and abdomen. If you only hold one such credential, you will be required to complete additional coursework.
Oregon Tech’s online tuition rates are just $270 per credit for undergraduate students, regardless of residency. You’ll also pay an online course technology fee of $65 per course, which gives you access to the university’s e-learning system, Canvas. There’s also a Transcript for Life fee of $40 and an Online Matriculation fee of $50 due in your first term.
University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College was one of the first universities to start offering online programs. All University of Cincinnati Online students benefit from experienced and nationally recognized faculty members, in addition to being taught by the same professors who lead the traditional, campus-based programs.
UC’s Bachelor of Radiation Science Technology degree is suitable for those already working in the field, with leadership training built into the program. You’ll also have the opportunity to specialize further in two fields, including Mammography and Computer Tomography. There are zero campus visits required, making this an ideal choice for busy, working professionals.
While non-residents typically pay higher rates of tuition at most universities, the difference between residents and non-residents at UC Online is small. Resident tuition for this program is charged at around $512 per credit, while non-residents pay $527. The school’s tuition webpage page has a useful calculator and details all fees that apply, too.
How Much Do Ultrasound Technicians Earn?
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, diagnostic medical sonographers and other closely related professions earned a median salary of around $70,380 in 2020, or around $33.84 per hour. This was a little under double the national average salary for all occupations combined, so the earning potential is clearly very strong for this field.
More specifically, the median yearly salary for a cardiovascular technologist or technician was around $59,100, while for diagnostic medical sonographers, the figure rose to around $75,920. According to PayScale, salaries can rise as high as around $93,000 for the most experienced candidates. This requires a number of years of experience in the field. Candidates looking to increase their earning potential should consider adding other areas of specialization to their skills.
What Do Ultrasound Technicians Do?
Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers, work with doctors and other health professionals to help diagnose patients suffering from illnesses. You’ll work primarily with specialist equipment that can penetrate the body’s tissues harmlessly using high-frequency sound waves. This allows you to capture images of a patient’s vital organs in the diagnosis of illnesses.
There’s more to the job, however, than simply operating the equipment. You’ll also prepare and maintain the examination room and equipment, record findings and ensure that patient records are up to date, and communicate with other professionals on your findings so that patients can receive any follow-up care necessary.
While the role involves working as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, you may spend periods working alone with little supervision. You need to be highly organized, approachable, and personable, all while maintaining professionalism and confidentiality. You also need to be able to solve problems and make critical decisions.
What Is the Career Outlook for an Ultrasound Technician?
Like most roles in healthcare, the career outlook for these professionals is excellent. According to the BLS, the roles of ultrasound technicians are predicted to increase in demand by around 12% over the next decade, which is much faster than the national average. This represents around 15,600 new positions being created.
The greatest predicted increase is going to be for qualified diagnostic medical sonographers, at 17%, while other roles including technicians are also predicted to see an increase in demand. Those who qualify and gain certification in more than one area of specialty are predicted to fare even better.
Do Ultrasound Technicians Use Math?
While certificate programs are usually more intended for those already working as an ultrasound technician, some degree of math will typically be integrated into your associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. When you start working as a sonographer, you’ll need to use basic math in your day-to-day role. While college algebra is often a prerequisite, you’re unlikely to need to use much calculus as a practicing sonographer. Duties may include reporting on numbers and comparing results against ranges.
What Classes Do Ultrasound Technicians Take?
In most cases, you will need to meet certain requirements to gain admission to a degree program. This includes having earned an average GPA of around 2.5 across courses, including anatomy and physiology, general physics, English composition, medical terminology, college algebra, some social sciences, and biology.
Most ultrasound technician programs will include a general education component, which may form up to half of the credits that make up your final degree. The remainder of your coursework will usually be a split between medical imaging courses and a practicum or internship to gain clinical experience.
Can You Become an Ultrasound Technician With a Radiography Degree?
If you’re a health professional who already has a radiography degree and some amount of experience working as a radiographer or technician, then you may be able to take on-the-job training to gain sonography experience. That said, some medical imaging degree programs cover both disciplines.
Bear in mind that it’s likely you will need to gain further licensure or credentials depending on the state in which you wish to practice. If you’re lacking the needed skills or experience in sonography, the good news is that you could become qualified in as little as one year. Certificate programs are offered by many accredited online colleges, which can be completed quickly.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out the 30 Accredited Online Colleges in Health Science and the 30 Accredited Online Colleges in Health Informatics!