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Diagnostic medical sonographers, also known as ultrasound technicians, capture images of the inside of the body using a device that passes sound waves through the human body. Physicians use these images to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease and injuries, as well as monitor a woman’s pregnancy. Ultrasonography is becoming more popular as it is viewed as a safer alternative to radiologic procedures.

Pursuing your degree at an ultrasound technician school in Virginia will help prepare you for a career in this growing field. The Virginia Workforce Connection (vawc.virginia.gov) predicts that job opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers should be favorable. Request information from schools, ask questions, and be sure they have the programs and certifications to meet your career goals.  If a program is not available in your area, you might consider looking at related fields.

5 Programs Found

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sonographer with patient

Learning Options

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.

Learning Options

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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Virginia Ultrasound Career Outlook

Career growth for diagnostic medical sonographers in Virginia is expected to be on par with the rest of the country for the decade spanning 2012 to 2022, with employment growth in Virginia predicted to be 45%. This ranks Virginia tied for 12th place in terms of job growth for ultrasound technicians.

The median annual salary in 2013 was $70,300, which is a bit above the national median of $66,400. The majority of those employed as medical sonographers find work at general medical and surgical hospitals.

Carrer One Stop, http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?next=occ_rep&Level=Overall&optstatus=111111111&jobfam=29&id=1&nodeid=2&soccode=292032&menuMode=&stfips=51&x=58&y=16

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:

  • Echocardiography
  • Obstetric sonography
  • Vascular technology
  • Abdominal sonography.

Accredited Ultrasound Technician Schools in Virginia

As you consider which sonography program to attend, there are many factors that you’ll want to consider, from cost and proximity to job placement percentages. One of the most important things, though, is the accreditation of the program or institution. The following ultrasound technician schools in Virginia have all been accredited in diagnostic medical sonography by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP):

Northern Virginia Community College – Springfield, VA
Website: www.nvcc.edu

Southside Regional Medical Center – Petersburg, VA
Website: www.srmconline.com

Tidewater Community College – Virginia Beach, VA
Website: www.tcc.edu

 

Certification Requirements in Virginia

Statewide licensure is not required in Virginia. However, many employers do require professional certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The only way to earn certification is by taking and passing their exam. There are many locations throughout Virginia to take the exam, and you can find them on the ARDMS website at ardms.org, or by calling the testing company Pearson Vue at 1-877-258-9220.

The easiest way to qualify to sit for the exam is to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Otherwise, you’ll need 12 months of full time clinical experience. Request information from several ultrasound technician schools in Virginia, and do the research to make sure that they meet the certification requirements you’re looking for.

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Salaries Across Careers and Metropolitan Area, 2010 Data

Metropolitan Area Ultrasound Tech Cardiovascular Tech Radiology Tech Nuclear Medicine Tech
Richmond, VA $66,300 $48,100 $57,100 unavailable
Roanoke, VA $64,200 $56,200 $51,300 unavailable
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA $58,000 unavailable $52,400 unavailable
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA $53,800 $55,500 $44,900 unavailable

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey/Career OneStop – http://www.careerinfonet.org/Occ_Intro.asp?id=1&nodeid=1

Things to do in Virginia

Virginia, known as the birthplace of the nation, is a state of historical significance for many reasons. The first English settlement was in Jamestown in 1607, and Virginia is the birthplace of 8 U.S Presidents and the burial site of 7. The surrenders of both the American Revolution and the Civil War occurred in Virginia, and it was the first place that slavery was introduced in the U.S. There are many historical sites to tour in your spare time, including the birthplace of George Washington in Mt. Vernon. If history isn’t your thing, gather your friends and visit the world’s only oyster museum on Chincoteague Island. Whatever you pleasure, graduating from an ultrasound technician school in Virginia will give you a great education combined with a positive economic outlook.

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