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Diagnostic medical sonographers play an important role in the care of their patients. They use special equipment that uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. These images are used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as monitor the health of the fetus of an expectant mother.
Sonography and healthcare are both experiencing rapid growth. According to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the healthcare industry is growing at a faster rate than nearly every other industry in Montana. In addition, Montana ranks amongst the top 10 states in the nation in terms of employment growth for sonographers, and jobs are expected to increase by 29.9% by 2026 (CareerOneStop). This is partly due to the short education and training period, as well as the high salary. We will go into each of these topics later, as well as connect you with accredited ultrasound technician schools where you can receive the education you need to become a sonographer.
Accredited Sonography Schools Serving Montana in 2020
Although there currently aren’t any CAAHEP accredited sonography program within Montana’s borders, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) has give accreditation to several schools in Montana:
|4 ARRT Accredited Schools||Campus Location|
|Flathead Valley Community College||Kalispell, MT|
|Great Falls College – Montana State University||Great Falls, MT|
|Montana State University – Billings||Billings, MT|
|University of Montana||Missoula, MT|
If you’re currently enrolled in or have been accepted to a CAAHEP accredited program, you’re also eligible to apply for the UltrasoundSchoolsInfo semi-annual $1,000 scholarship. Click here to learn more.
A Closer look at Montana’s Four Accredited Healthcare Training Programs
Flathead Valley Community College
FVCC Surgical Technology Program
777 Grandview Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
Admissions Phone: (406) 756-3848
Programs Offered: Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic, Medical Assisting, Surgical Technology
FVCC Program Information: https://www.fvcc.edu/what-we-offer/academic-programs/
Great Falls College – Montana State University
Great Falls College MSU
2100 16th Avenue South
Great Falls, MT 59405
Admissions Phone: 406-771-4300
Programs Offered: Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic, Surgical Technology
GFC-MSU Healthcare Program Information: https://www.gfcmsu.edu/programs/health.html
Montana State University – Billings
Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic Program
3803 Central Avenue
Billings, MT 59102
Admissions Phone: 406-896-5831
Programs Offered: Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic
MSU Billings College of Health Professions and Science Information: http://www.msubillings.edu/cahp/index.htm
University of Montana
Surgical Technology Program
Missoula College at the University of Montana
1205 East Broadway Street
Missoula , MT 59802
Admissions Phone: (406) 243-6266
Programs Offered: Surgical Technology – Associate of Applied Science
Missoula College – Department of Health Professions: https://mc.umt.edu/health/surgicaltech/default.php
Sonography Certification Requirements in Montana
Montana doesn’t currently require licensure or certification for practicing diagnostic medical sonographers. However, as many employers do prefer or require certification, it’s a smart thing to consider if you want to have an advantage over other potential job candidates.
The most highly regarded certification is provided by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The only way to earn their certification is by taking and passing their exam. In order to qualify, you must meet their prerequisites. Once you have, you can take the exam at one of the two testing locations in Montana:
- 111 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601
- 404 N 31st St, Billings, MT 59101
Besides graduating from a CAAHEP accredited school, the second easiest way to qualify for the ARDMS exam is 12 months of full-time clinical experience. Request information from several ultrasound technician schools in Montana to ensure that they meet the certification requirements you’re looking for. You may even want to talk to prospective employers about the certification and educational requirements they have.
Additional Certification Information
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How Much do Ultrasound Techs Make in Montana?
The mean annual salary for sonographers working in Montana is $77,520* or $37.27 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of 2019. This is just below the national mean of $75,780.
Those at the top of their field in the 90th percentile earned an average wage of $99,480* a year, while those in the bottom 10th percentile made an annual mean salary of $58,060.*
The salary you earn depends on a number of factors, including type of employer, level of education and experience, and geographic location. For example, outpatient care centers tend to pay the most, while larger imaging centers and hospitals typically offer competitive benefit programs as well as a base salary. Additionally, receiving an Associate’s Degree is required to become an entry level sonographer, while earning a Bachelor’s Degree can open you up to higher paying job positions.
Medical Imaging Organizations for Montana
Healthcare workers in Montana have access to a vast network of societies and organizations that can support them as they pursue their education and professional careers.
If you are currently a sonographer or considering becoming one in Montana, we suggest that you connect with your local chapter of medical imaging related organizations, such as the Midwest Society of Diagnostic Ultrasound.
Ultrasound Technician Schools in Billings
Billings, which has been ranked #1 among small metro areas, remained stable through the recession that gripped the rest of the nation. Unemployment has remained well below the national average, and healthcare is one of the major employment industries.
According to a report from the Billings Chamber of Commerce, “the city’s medical corridor provides the most advanced healthcare services in a four-state area, including Wyoming and the Dakotas”.
Attending a sonography program in Billings, or pursuing a degree or certificate in a field in allied health, will make you a competitive candidate in the growing healthcare market.