Diagnostic medical sonography offers a wide variety of career choices and specialties, from entry level ultrasound technician to high risk obstetric sonographer. It’s an emotionally and financially rewarding field for those who are dedicated, compassionate, and willing to work hard.
If you’re been considering pursuing a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer in California, we are here to help you learn about the career and connect with a program near you. Below you will find all of the sonography schools in California that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is the most widely recognized accrediting body of schools and programs.
The first step in considering a career change is to do your research and learn as much as you can about the field to determine if it’s right for you. We’ve done much of the work for you and below we will discuss what you can expect to do as a sonographer in California, what the job growth data is, how much money you might earn, and what the certification requirements are.
Connect with Educational Programs near You
CAAHEP Accredited Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing where to pursue your sonography degree in California is the accreditation of the program. For a school or program to be accredited means that they have undergone rigorous review from a reputable outside agency. The purpose of the accreditation is to ensure that the quality of education meets identified standards.
For the field of sonography and medical imaging, the primary and most widely recognized accreditation agency is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Accredited Sonography Programs in California for 2020
The following colleges in California all have sonography degree programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), as of November, 2019:
|Institution Name||Location||Program Director||Specialties|
|CBD College||3699 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
|Alexander Gelfand MS, RDMS, RVT||General|
|Community Regional Medical Center||2823 Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93721
|Joy Guthrie PhD, ACS, RDMS, RDCS, RVT||
|Consumnes River College||8401 Center Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95823
|Mohammad Yazdanmehr MD, RDMS, RVT||General|
|Cypress College||9200 Valley View Street
Cypress, CA 90630
|Lynn Mitts MA, RDMS, RT||General|
|Foothill College||12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
|Kathleen Austin BS, RDMS||General|
|Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences||938 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804
|Susan Heppell BS, RDMS||
|Loma Linda University||11234 Anderson St
Loma Linda, CA 92354
|Marie DeLange BS, RDMS, RDCS, FAIUM, FSDMS||
|Merced College||3600 M Street
Merced, CA 95348
|Cheryl Zelinksky MM, RT(R), RDMS||General|
|Mt. San Jacinto College||28237 La Piedra Road
Menifee, CA 92584
|Tracy Francis BA, RDMS, RVT||General|
|Orange Coast College||2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA 92628
|Cynthia Reber-Bonhall MA, RDMS, RVT||General|
|Santa Barbara City College||721 Cliff Dr.
Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394
|Debra Von Bernuth BA, RDMS, RVT||General|
|University of California San Diego||200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
|Nannette Forsythe BA, RDMS, RVT||General|
Ultrasound Tech Certification Requirements in California
To become professionally certified in a field means that a pre-defined level of education and expertise has been shown to an independent evaluating agency. Quite often a certain level of education is required by a pre-accredited program. At the end of that educational period, a test given by the accrediting agency must be passed. Continuing education is also required in order to maintain the certification.
Requirements for Ultrasound Technician Certification in California
For sonographers, professional certification comes primarily from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) (though there are others, depending on specialty and other factors). The state of California does not require licensure to be an ultrasound technician. However, most employers require professional certification by the ARDMS. The only way to earn certification is by taking and passing their exam. There are many locations throughout California to take the exam, and you can find them on the PearsonVue website.
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 California, and do the research to make sure that they meet the certification requirements you’re looking for.
Additional Certification Information
What scholarships or financial aid is available for sonographers?
How to pay for college is one of the top concerns for most students and their families. Colleges offer merit and needs based scholarships, as do many private companies and institutions. Financial aid and student loans are available for those who qualify.
To help you navigate this process and learn what pitfalls to avoid, we have put together a series of articles around paying for college. You’ll also find information on how to apply for the $1,000 bi-annual scholarship that we at Ultrasound Schools Info offer to sonography students entering or attending an accredited ultrasound tech program!
If you’re an undocumented student wishing to attend a sonography program in California, it’s especially important to understand your options. There is help available. Learn more about the financial assistance available to you from the state of California through the California Dream Act, as well as from many colleges. There are also numerous scholarships that you can apply for.
How Much do Ultrasound Techs Make in California?
Medical sonographers in California earn a mean annual salary of $92,660. This is considerably higher than the national average of $72,510. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the 3rd highest paying state in the country, and has 9 of the top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the nation.
Your wages are determined by a variety of factors. The area of the state in which you live, the type of company you work for, and your educational background and certification all make a difference.
General medical and surgical facilities pay the highest salaries, and often offer better benefit packages. Or you might prefer the atmosphere of a smaller facility, or even to serve as a traveling sonographer.
Job Growth and Salary for Ultrasound Technologist in California
- Ultrasound techs in California earn an average of $32.25 an hour.
- California is the 3rd highest paying state in the country, and is #1 for job concentration.
- There were over 5,800 working sonographers in CA in 2016. Jobs are expected to increase by 26%
- 9 of the 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the country for sonographers are all in California
Which Areas of California Pay the Best?
Where you life affects how much you earn. The table below shows the median annual salaries for ultrasound technicians by county in 2019. You’ll find that most areas of California offer extremely competitive salaries.
|County||2019 Median Salary|
|San Francisco Bay Area||$120,721|
Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals
According to the US Department of Education, limited English proficient (LEP) learners were the fastest growing population in the country. It is estimated that 50% of adults in Los Angeles cannot read or write English. The healthcare industry is concerned that Californians as a result may not be receiving optimal health care.Bilingual or multilingual health care professionals are in increasing demand, and are therefore seeing higher employment opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California employs more Diagnostic Medical Sonographers than any other state.
Expected Job Growth for Sonographers in California?
California is a great state to be an ultrasound tech! It employs more sonographers than any other state in the nation. Below we break down the expected job growth by county, from 2016 to 2026. Further information can be found by visiting the website for California’s Labor Market.
|County||Estimated Percent Job Growth|
|Sacramento Metro Area||29.5%|
|East Bay Area||42.9%|
|San Diego County||20.8%|
Ultrasound Technician Schools in San Diego
If you’re interested in attending a Sonography school in San Diego, you’ll find many CAAHEP accredited institutions from which to obtain your education, including UC San Diego. San Diego also has high employment opportunities in the medical imaging field, as well as median salaries that significantly outpace the state and national average.
In your spare time, you’ll have many world-class attractions to choose from, from the San Diego Zoo to the largest cultural complex west of the Mississippi, Balboa Park. There are an unlimited number of activities to pursue outdoors or in, all in the beautiful surroundings that San Diego County has to offer.
California employs more ultrasound technicians than any other state in the nation. It is also the 3rd highest paying state in terms of annual wages for ultrasound techs, with a median annual salary of over $92,00 per year as of May, 2018.
Ultrasound Technician Schools in Los Angeles
There are several ultrasound technician schools in the Los Angeles area, and a number are accredited by the CAAHEP. Completing a sonography program in this California locale allows you the opportunity to complete clinical externship hours at one of the many facilities in and around Los Angeles. At least 19 of the hospitals and centers in L.A. are even accredited by the American College of Radiology for ultrasound or breast ultrasound modalities.
With Hollywood studios and the Walk of Fame, over 800 museums and galleries and countless stage performance groups, it is no surprise Los Angeles is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” But did you know L.A. is also home to a plethora of hospitals and medical facilities?
Ultrasonographers are an important member of the healthcare team, and Los Angeles County has one of the highest employment levels for sonographers or ultrasound technicians in the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2018 there were 2,210 diagnostic medical sonographers working in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area earning a median of $88,320 per year. And as reported by the State of California Employment Development Department, employment for sonographers in Los Angeles County is projected to increase by 25% between 2016 and 2026.
Specialties Available to Sonographers
Ultrasound is most commonly understood as a way of monitoring the health of a growing fetus. However, advances in medicine have resulted in the increasing use of ultrasound and other medical imaging modalities to diagnose and treat disease. Sonographers are able to work in high risk ob/gyn offices, cancer centers, pediatric ICU units, and mobile clinics, to name a few.
The ARDMS’ Sonography, Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) Exam can be taken for the following specialties:
- Fetal Echocardiography
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Pediatric Sonography
For a full list visit our ARDMS certification page
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to complete a sonography training program in California?
How long you go to school depends on your career goals. To work in an entry level position, a two-year Associate’s Degree is typically enough. If you’re interested in further specialization or a supervisory roll, then pursuing a bachelor’s degree would make more sense. Full time course work in a bachelor’s program will typically take four years. Visit our degree center to learn more about your options.
How do I get started?
We’ll walk you through all of the steps, starting when you’re still in high school or before you’ve started any formal post-education program, all the way through finding a job and advancing in your career. Get Started Now.
How do I know if a career in sonography is right for me?
The course study and internship process is rigorous, and it’s smart to spend some time considering whether this is the right move for you.
In order to be successful in the field, you’ll need more than just technical knowledge. Personal skills, such as having a good “bedside manner” are equally important. Here’s how you’ll know if you’ve got what it takes.
What other jobs can I get in medical imaging?
There are many careers available within medical imaging and allied health. Whether you want to work in radiology or cardiovascular medicine to becoming a phlebotomist, there are almost endless opportunities to pursue. We’ll introduce you to many of them here.