The field of medical imaging is growing rapidly, across the nation and in North Carolina. Diagnostic medical sonographers, also known as ultrasound technicians, use special equipment to take images of the inside of the body. They work closely alongside physicians, who use those images to detect, diagnose, and treat disease, as well as monitor the health and growth of a fetus. Medical imaging is a popular career choice due to the rewarding nature of the work, combined with a good salary and relatively short educational and training period.
Get started today by requesting information from ultrasound technician schools in North Carolina. If you don’t see a program in your area, check out one of the related programs listed below. You’ll have the opportunity to speak with a representative to have your questions answered, so come prepared with a list of things you want to discuss.
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A sonography degree prepares you for a variety of job functions from introducing future parents to a first look at their baby to identifying abnormalities, such as tumors, growing inside a patient’s organs.
What Level of Education Do I Need?
If you would like to become a diagnostic medical sonographer or ultrasound technician, ultimately your goal is to complete and pass the ARDMS exam. While not all states require such certification, the majority of clinics and hospitals prefer candidates to hold this professional credential.
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North Carolina Ultrasound Career Outlook
In 2013, diagnostic medical sonographers in North Carolina earned an average of $63,400, which is a little less than the national average of $66,410. Predicted growth in the field is expected to be much higher than average, with a 50% increase in employment in the decade spanning 2012 through 2022. This places North Carolina 7th in the nation in terms of job growth for sonographers.
Ultrasound techs typically work in surgical or general medical hospitals in North Carolina, but employment can also be found at physicians’ offices and private diagnostic medical imaging centers throughout the state. Learn more about becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer.
Benefits of an Ultrasound Degree
- An associates degree will help prepare you for entry level sonography positions.
- You can typically complete your program in two years.
- Prerequisites are typically only a high school diploma or equivalent.
- It provides a solid foundation from which to build your career.
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As part of a diagnostic medial sonography degree, often you will have the opportunity to specialize in an area such as:
- Obstetric sonography
- Vascular technology
- Abdominal sonography.
Accredited Sonography Schools in North Carolina
The following schools have sonography programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), as of December 2014:
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College – Asheville, NC
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute – Hudson, NC
Cape Fear Community College – Wilmington, NC
Forsyth Technical Community College – Winston-Salem, NC
Johnston Community College – Smithfield, NC
Pitt Community College – Greenville, NC
South Piedmont Community College – Monroe, NC
Southwestern Community College-Sylva – Sylva, NC
Certification Requirements in North Carolina
Most states, including North Carolina, do not require professional certification or licensure to practice sonography. However, legislation requiring a license is being proposed in several states, and most employers require certification, so it’s a smart thing to consider as you plan for your education and training.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is the primary organization offering certification for sonographers, and the only way to earn their certification is by taking and passing their exam. There are plenty of testing locations to choose from, with 11 being located within North Carolina, plus many more in neighboring states. Find the locations nearest you and their contact information on the ARDMS website at ardms.org, or by calling the testing company Pearson Vue at 1-877-258-9220.
In order to take the ARDMS exam, one of their prerequisites must be met. Probably the most common way to meet their requirements is to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), but this is certainly not the only way. Read through the requirements on the ARDMS website, and determine which will be the easiest one for you to meet.
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Table 1 gives you the average annual salary for ultrasound technicians in the major metropolitan areas of North Carolina.
|Metropolitan Area||2013 Median Salary|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||$62,400|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||$67,000|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC||$65,300|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||$67,600|
Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. http://www.careerinfonet.org/compare_err1.asp?next=compare_get_msa&level=&optstatus=111111111&id=1&nodeid=209&soccode=292032&stfips=37&jobfam=29&menuMode=
Salaries Across Careers and Metropolitan Area, 2013 Data
Table 2 compares median annual salaries among several related careers within North Carolina.
|Metropolitan Area||Ultrasound Tech||Cardiovascular Tech||Radiology Tech||Surgical Tech|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||$62,400||$51,700||$54,600||$39,100|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC||$67,000||unavailable||$62,200||$41,900|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC||$65,300||$65,400||$55,100||unavailable|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||$67,600||$55,600||$52,900||$42,700|
Career One Stop, http://www.careerinfonet.org/Occ_Intro.asp?id=1&nodeid=1