Diagnostic medical sonography is a rapidly growing career within healthcare for many reasons, including the potential for a high salary, the relatively short education and training period, and strong job availability.
If you’re considering a new career in medical imaging, obtaining your degree in an accredited ultrasound program will help prepare you for an entry-level position in a state whose average annual salary and expected job growth for sonographers exceeds the national average.
How to Become a Sonographer in Colorado
- Find an Accredited Program. It is important to choose a program that has been accredited by an accepted agency. For sonography, that’s the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The University of Colorado Hospital has achieved such accreditation in two concentrations: Abdominal-extended and ObGyn sonography.
- Get Your Degree. Sonographers need to have at least an Associate of Science degree in diagnostic medical sonography. The University of Colorado Hospital offers a certificate program, which usually requires a previous college degree. Check the prerequisites to see what you need to apply.
- Take the Certification Exam. Just because national certification isn’t required by the Colorado Department of Health doesn’t mean your employer won’t require it. If you graduate from a CAAHEP accredited program you’re automatically qualified to take the test.
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Why Choose a CAAHEP Accredited Diagnostic Sonography Program?
Cost, proximity, job placement percentages, and coursework are all important factors to consider when selecting your sonography program. But perhaps the most important thing is the accreditation of the program.
The primary accrediting body for sonography programs is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). A school becomes accredited by CAAHEP once it has met their DMS Accreditation Standards and Guidelines as well as passed a series of program reviews, including a self-study review and a site visit. This ensures that the school can provide a high quality education to their students as they prepare to enter the healthcare workforce.
The successful completion of an accredited Colorado DMS program is the most comprehensive and direct way students can earn eligibility to sit for the ARDMS Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam, as well as a specialty exam. Passing both of their exams will allow you to receive professional certification in diagnostic medical sonography.
If you’re currently enrolled in or have been accepted to a CAAHEP accredited program, you’re also eligible to apply for the UltrasoundSchoolsInfo $1,000 scholarship. Click here to learn more.
Accredited Sonography Schools in Colorado in 2023
The following school offers sonography degree or certificate programs that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) as of September 2023:
|University of Colorado Hospital
Division of Ultrasound University of Colorado Hospital, F-720 1635 Aurora Ct Aurora, CO 80045
|12 Month Certificate||
||Submit an application for review by the admissions team. Application window opens September 1st.|
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Scholarships and Financial Aid
Paying for college is understandably one of the bigger stressors for students and their families. Visit our financial aid portal for help understanding grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options. Below are just a few of the scholarships available to those who qualify in Colorado:
|Scholarship||Award Amount||Eligibility Requirements||How to Apply|
|Ultrasound Schools Info||$1,000||Aspiring sonographer currently enrolled in/ accepted to a CAAHEP accredited DMS program.||Ultrasound Schools Info
Attn: Scholarship Committee
PO Box 3026
Bellingham, WA 98227
|Boettcher Scholarship||$20,000 per year for 4 years||Awarded to a Colorado resident who demonstrates superior scholastic ability and intellectual curiosity, evidence of leadership and involvement, service to community and school, and outstanding character.||Complete a competitiveness quiz.|
|CollegeInvest 529 Scholarship||$2,000||Must apply for CollegeInvest and the FASFA as well as be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution in an undergraduate or graduate degree, or certificate program.||Complete an online application and submit the FASFA|
|The Alexander Foundation||$300-$3,000 per year||
Applicant must identify within the LGBTQIA+ community, be a resident of Colorado, and be pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher education in the state of Colorado.
|Complete an online application, complete a personal essay, and submit two letters of recommendation.|
|Partner Colorado Foundation Scholarships||Minimum of $1,000 per year||Must attend college full-time with 9+ credits per term and maintain satisfactory academic progress with minimum 2.0 GPA. Selection is need-based, but academic merit and extra-curricular involvement are considered.||Complete an online application.|
How Much do Ultrasound Techs Make in Colorado?
The mean annual salary for sonographers in 2022 in Colorado was $92,610, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Conditions in your area may vary).
The salary you earn depends on a number of factors, including level of education and experience, geographic location, and type of employer (ex. outpatient care centers tend to pay the most). Larger imaging centers and hospitals also tend to offer competitive benefit programs in addition to the base salary.
In addition, O*Net predicts that job availability for ultrasound technicians will increase by 36% by 2030.
Colorado does not require ultrasound technicians to receive licensure or certification. However, many employers do require professional certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
In order to be eligible to take the ARDMS exam, you must meet one of their prerequisites. Graduating from a CAAHEP accredited program automatically qualifies you to sit for their test, and in many cases that will be taken in your last quarter or semester at school.
Additional Certification Information
Ultrasound Technician Schools in Denver
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce has stated that industries with an emphasis in education and health care are expected to have the best job growth performance. It is also expected that the population in the area will grow at a faster rate than average, which in turn should boost home construction and sales, resulting in a stronger job market. According to a report released by the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, “the health care and wellness cluster is one of the fastest growing industry clusters in the region and continues to contribute to the region’s overall economic productivity. In fact, employment growth in the Denver South region’s health care and wellness cluster averaged 11.3 percent per year over the past five years”.