A person who wants to become a sonographer must complete a variety of classes, depending on the type of program from which she wishes to graduate. These classes can range from pre-professional courses to those that prepare students for the profession of diagnostic medical sonography. Some students also choose to take a four-year bachelor’s degree in the field, which can help them advance in their careers.
Sonographers can also gain additional training through a certificate program at a vocational school, community college or four-year university. This program takes 12-18 months and is a short-term route to becoming a qualified sonographer. Alternatively, some people choose to become certified through the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) program, which can provide more job opportunities and pay.
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Anatomy and Physiology
These classes introduce students to the structure and function of various organs within the human body. Usually, they cover topics such as the cardiovascular system and the abdominal and reproductive systems. Students learn about the normal appearance of these structures, as well as how they may appear on a sonogram.
Anatomy and Physiology with Echocardiography
This course teaches students how to interpret ultrasound images of the heart and blood vessels. This information is important for a variety of health care professions, including those who work with obstetric and gynecologic patients.
Anatomy and Physiology of the Fetus
This class covers the anatomy and physiology of a typical fetus, as well as how to take accurate measurements of the fetal growth. The class combines lecture, lab and hands-on clinical training to prepare students for their careers as obstetric and gynecologic sonographers.
Maternal and Fetal Sonography
The sonographer needs to have good interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with pregnant women. In addition, she must be able to understand complex clinical situations and explain them in an easily understood way. These classes will teach her how to use the equipment and interpret the results of a scan, as well as how to perform a full clinical evaluation of a patient.
Applied Anatomy and Physiology
These courses provide the sonographer with the skills needed to perform clinical duties on patients under the supervision of a physician or midwife. Sonographers must be able to recognize and describe the normal appearance of various organs in the body, as well as how they may look on a sonogram.
Many medical imaging programs require that their sonographer students have a certain number of observational hours in hospitals or clinics. These shadowing hours help students gain valuable hands-on experience in the field and decide if they can see themselves as a licensed sonographer. This requirement is one reason why it’s important to check each sonographer school’s admissions requirements before applying. It also gives potential students the chance to talk with working sonographers about their jobs and find out what they’re really like.