Top Ultrasound Technician Programs

Ultrasound technician salaries are at their highest. Get certified in less than 2 years with online and on-site courses.

Medical professionals are in high demand, especially in the fields of radiology. This trend in ultrasound technology is due to growing employment opportunities and ease of entry into the field. An ultrasound technician helps monitor pregnancies, cardiovascular health, neurological conditions, and more. Also called diagnostic medical sonographers, technicians earn up to $68,000 annually and are distinguished as having the least stressful career in the United States. Ultrasound technicians work in an interactive environment that is safe, satisfying and diverse.

Ultrasound technicians work at hospitals, outpatient facilities, private practices, and many other types of healthcare offices. Better yet, if you choose to work as an ultrasound technician, you start work quickly. Sonography training is swift and there are several paths to certification.

Among your choices of programs are 1-2 year programs for those that want to begin working quickly, and bachelor programs for those that want to advance in their field. There are various ways to pay for your education and training, including financial aid.  If you currently work in the medical field, you may be able to get your employer to pay for your training. It is advisable to pick an accredited program because many employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited institutions. This is because they know that these graduates meet national standards.  There are many ultrasound technician programs to choose from and the best ultrasound schools in the country are ranked.

Top Schools for Ultrasound Technician Certification

The top 5 schools for ultrasound are University of Oklahoma, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Rutgers University.  These schools and many others offer specialty certifications in core areas of sonography (abdomen, breast, pediatric, fetal, vascular, obstetrics and gynecology).  Programs to become an ultrasound technician vary, but all programs involve some combination of math, biology, communications and clinical training.

The following programs are available depending on your choice and unique circumstances.

Choosing Your Program

  • Certificate Program- 1-year certificate program, designed for students with experience and education as certified allied health professionals in other fields but are looking to transition into diagnostic medical sonography.

  • Associate Degrees- Associate’s degrees are the most common training program for ultrasound technicians. Associate degrees usually last for two years.

  • Bachelor Degrees- Bachelor’s degrees are for 4 years and should be obtained from an accredited school or college. If you want advanced certification, which translates into a higher salary, then the 4 year degree is the best choice.

  • On-Line Programs- On-line ultrasound technician programs are available for all levels of certification but only four in the nation are accredited for distance-learning. All on-line programs are hybrids (including on-line instruction, in-person classroom and lab instruction), as hands-on clinical experience is necessary for certification. These programs require students to complete a number of clinical hours depending on the chosen program, with most requiring up to 1,000+ clinical hours.

Finding an Accredited School

Accreditation is a process that a school or program undergoes to determine if they have achieved a certain level or quality in the education they provide. The standard is set and approved by an outside agency that assures the training and instruction meets quality standards. The Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs is the governing body for sonographers. They currently certify over 200 programs in the U.S. Therefore, it would be best to verify that your school is accredited with the CAAHEP. The CAAHEP provides an on-line search box to help you find an accredited program in your state. With their search box, you can search by profession, specialty, and location, and it will give you a list that meets the parameters that you have set.

How to Pay for Sonography School

  • Grants- The U.S. government offers several types of grants for students. The Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The amount you receive is dependent on financial need. As of 2019-2020 the total award amount for a Pell Grant is approximately $6,000 and the FSEOG highest amount awarded is $4,000. Most schools accept these grant awards, but not all. Make sure to see if your school participates.
  • Work-Study- If you qualify for work-study, you will be paid for a part-time job while in school. Work-study can be federal, state-sponsored, or institutionally-sponsored. These jobs can be on or off campus.
  • Student loans- Loans are borrowed money that must be paid back with interest. These loans are used to pay for college or a trade school. The best loans come from the federal government as they carry the lowest interest. The 4 most common student loans are the Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and the Direct Consolidation Loans.
  • State Aid and Scholarships- Many non-profit and private organizations offer scholarships to help students pay for college. This is money that you are not required to be pay back and is based on academic merit, talent, or an area of study.