The question of the prerequisites necessary to become a diagnostic medical sonographer revolves not so much around the legal requirements but rather around professional considerations. That is to say, there are few actual legal requirements concerning getting hired as sonographer. In most cases one could ostensibly be hired for a sonography position with nothing but a high school diploma. In practice however, the situation is quite different – employers expect to see that an individual is educated and well credentialed before hiring them. If the individual has experience at another sonography job so much the better. The prerequisites for diagnostic medical sonography, while not legal ones in the strict sense, are nevertheless important. It is highly advisable for an individual wishing to get into sonography to take various educational steps before hand if they wish to secure a good job position. These general prerequisites are as follows:
High School Diploma or GED
Given that most educational programs in diagnostic medical sonography are given at the collegiate level, having either a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED) is usually necessary. There is essentially no college level program in sonography that would consider admitting an individual who did not have this basic educational credential unless it was some sort of advanced placement program for high school students.
Completion of a 1, 2, or 4 Year Program
The next prerequisite for getting into this field is completion of an educational/training program in diagnostic medical sonography. While, again, not legally mandated, employers are increasingly wishing to see that job applicants are well educated in a formal sense. The most common program durations/types are 1 year diploma/certificate programs and 2 year Associate’s degree programs. These programs cover all the basic knowledge and skill areas necessary to become a diagnostic medical sonographer and employers can thus feel relatively secure in hiring someone who has completed them. There are also 4 year Bachelor’s degree programs that go more in depth and may include instruction in other imaging types. This is one of the informal prerequisites for diagnostic medical sonography work, although it is one that upon going into the field a sonographer will not have too much of. The more they can get initially, however, the better.
Either in addition to, or possibly in place of, formal education experience is also an advantageous prerequisite to have from an employment standpoint. If someone has plenty of experience along with having completed a formal educational program such as those mentioned above, they are in a very good position indeed for being hired. If they have a lot of job experience without having completed a college program, this may work as a credential that is accepted in place of such a program.
An organization called the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) certifies diagnostic medical sonographers. This professional association gives exams in various diagnostic medical sonography specialties. This is one of the most impressive prerequisites, or at least credentials, for diagnostic medical sonography work. It shows that a sonographer has met national standards for competence in the field and it looks great on a resume.
These are the main prerequisites for diagnostic medical sonography. An individual who gets into this field would do well to see that they are met as much as is possible and convenient before searching for a job. While not legally stipulated, some fulfillment of these prerequisites is expected or favored by most employers.