Pursuing a new career is challenging at any stage. Whether you’ve just finished high school or are making the switch from one industry to another, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve succeeded in narrowing down your options to ultrasound and sonography school. Unfortunately, you are now, once again, staring down an impossible number of options. If you want to study at one of the leading sonography schools in Georgia but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
At this point you probably have a million questions swirling around inside your head. What should I look for in an online sonography school in Georgia? How much should I expect to pay? What licensing regulations will I need to comply with to start working, and what job opportunities are available? Keep reading to have all of these questions and more answered. We’ll walk you through a few top programs, a comprehensive program checklist, and your future earning potential so that you can feel confident taking your next step.
Profiling Popular Sonography & Ultrasound Tech Schools in Georgia
Once you’ve decided to pursue a career in sonography and ultrasound technology in Georgia, you’ll need to find an accredited school that will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get your career off the ground. We’ve highlighted three reputable sonography schools in Georgia to give you an idea of what to look for:
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University (GSU) offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Sciences with a concentration in Diagnostic Medical Sonography accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Program (CAAHEP). Of the 130 credit hours students must complete to earn their degree, 42 are concentration-specific. Students take courses in advanced imaging modalities, sonographic principles, clinical education, and sonography synthesis, among others. The program also offers clinical opportunities where students learn scanning techniques, invasive procedures, and skills specific to their sonographic specialties. Students must complete two or more clinical education programs to graduate. Students must also attend three hours of lectures and complete six hours of lab work per week. By the end of the program, students are able to use the sound waves from ultrasound machines to examine and recognize issues with organs, muscles, and vascular structures.
Gwinnett Technical College
Gwinnett Technical College offers a 22-month continuous course in Diagnostic Medical Sonography that includes didactic and lab sessions, as well as clinical rotations. This CAAHEP-accredited program offers concentrations in abdominal-extended and OB/GYN. Students graduate the program with the ability to identify and help diagnose abdominal and obstetric conditions and assist in interventional procedures. Graduates are eligible to work as Diagnostic Medical, OB/GYN, Breast, Pediatric, or Musculoskeletal Sonographers, among other specialties. Gwinnett Technical College offers hybrid learning to accommodate students’ busy schedules.
Ogeechee Technical College
Ogeechee Technical College offers another top-tier, CAAHEP-accredited sonography program. Students can choose to earn their associate degree in either Diagnostic Medical Sonography or Echocardiography in as few as six semesters. Depending on their concentration, students must take between 71 and 77 semester hours, including classes on communication and social sciences, anatomy and physiology, and sonographic techniques in patient care.
Students pay $100 per credit hour, plus fees and liability insurance. Applicants must be at least 18 years, submit a complete application form and transcripts, and meet a number of assessment requirements. Students who meet the admission criteria, are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, and have not previously defaulted on federal student loans are eligible for financial aid.
Sonography & Ultrasound Tech Program Checklist
Knowing why you want to pursue a sonography career and where to find potential schools is great, but it isn’t always enough. You may still be wondering what exactly you need to consider to make an informed decision, which is why we’ve put together the following checklist. Keep reading to explore some of the key features you’ll want to look for as you choose your online sonography school in Georgia:
FAQs About Sonography Schools in Georgia
If you still have some unanswered questions about earning an advanced degree at a Georgia sonography school, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions prospective ultrasound and sonography students ask. Keep reading to learn more about the availability of online programs, the certification process, your potential job salary, and more:
Are there online sonography schools in Georgia?
Yes, there are online sonography schools in Georgia. GSU offers a fully online Radiologic Sciences Bridge Program with a specialization in diagnostic medical sonography. The Cambridge College of Healthcare and Technology also offers a hybrid Diagnostic Medical Sonography program that allows students to complete foundational classes online or on campus.
Can I get an advanced degree in sonography?
While you don’t need an advanced degree in sonography to practice, it is possible to earn one if you’re hoping to climb the ladder at work, expand your skills, and increase your knowledge. Students interested in doing so can enroll in Health Science programs with a sonography emphasis or specialization.
How do I get certified?
Students enrolled in a CAAHEP-accredited sonography school in Georgia automatically qualify to sit for the certification exam of their choice after graduation. Exams are administered according to specialty. For example, students hoping to work as cardiac sonographers should enroll in the necessary specialization exams to earn their Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) certificate, while those interested in earning a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) certificate would do so in order to pursue careers in vascular sonography.
How much does a sonography and ultrasound tech program cost?
The cost of ultrasound tech training in sonography schools in Georgia varies for several reasons, including whether you’re an international, in-state, or out-of-state student. The cost of a two-year associate degree can be as much $39,500, while that of a four-year bachelor’s degree can be as much as $86,400.
What is the difference between a sonographer and an ultrasound technician?
Although ultrasound technicians and sonographers both operate ultrasound equipment, their roles differ slightly. Ultrasound technicians can only monitor a patients’ internal organs or a baby’s growth during pregnancy, while sonographers can also help make diagnoses and perform ultrasound-guided treatment. As a result, sonographers require greater academic qualifications than ultrasound technicians.
What prerequisites do I need before I start a sonography program?
Prerequisites can vary slightly according to the online sonography school you’re applying to. However, most include a minimum age of 18 years, a high school diploma or GED, and a passing grade in prerequisite classes. For example, Gwinnett Technical College requires students to have taken and passed American literature, anatomy and physiology, math, and physics, before the application deadline.
What jobs can I get after graduation and how well do they pay?
Graduating from a reputable sonography school in Georgia can give you access to a number of well-paying job opportunities, including the following:
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers earn an average annual salary of $84,410.
- Cardiac Sonographers typically earn $78,000 per year.
- Vascular Sonographers can expect to earn an annual salary of $73,133.
Licensing & Regulatory Requirements for Ultrasound Techs in Georgia
To maintain quality patient care standards, regulatory organizations like ARDMS dictate licensing requirements all sonographers must meet. ARDMS collaborates with sonography schools in Georgia to ensure these standards are met.
The clinical experience requirements for ARDMS licensing depend on your education level. If you complete a two-year program, you need 12 months of full-time clinical ultrasound experience before you can earn your certification. No additional clinical experience is required if you graduate from an accredited sonography school in Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in sonography.
Continuing Education, Renewal & Career Advancement
Sonographers are required to earn 10 to 30 Continuing Medical Education (CME) each year in order to stay up to date on the latest methods, theories, and to maintain their credentials. ARDMS also recommends that license applicants earn a minimum of 30 relevant CMEs in preparation for their certification exam. Earning a new credential or passing a new specialist examination gets you a waiver of 15 CMEs. Licensed sonographers can access their CME progress on the ARDMS CME Bank.
The typical pathway to becoming a sonographer involves obtaining either an associate or a bachelor’s degree, which in turn dictates your suitability for specific ARDMS certifications. Most certified sonographers practice as registered diagnostic medical specialists (R.D.M.S.), while some receive advanced certifications.
Examination & Certification Requirements
To earn your certification, you must pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentations (SPI) exam and a corresponding specialist exam according to the area you’d like to practice in, including abdominal, breast, adult echocardiogram, vascular technology, or another specialization.
Scope of Practice and Regulations
National and state-specific regulations dictate sonographers’ scope of practice. The national guidelines state that sonographers can collaborate with licensed professionals to perform invasive procedures, maintain ultrasound equipment to ensure optimal functioning, and conduct diagnostic and therapeutic procedures under the direction of licensed professionals.
Job Prospects & Salary Insights for Sonographers in Georgia
It can be scary to take the leap into a new career without knowing whether you’ll be able to land a job, let alone one that pays your desired salary. That’s why we’ve included the latest data below, which indicates that the projected number of new Diagnostic Medical Sonographer jobs available between 2020 and 2030 is roughly 730, with an average annual opening of 260.
Although your future salary as a sonographer in Georgia will depend on factors like the city you work in, your chosen specialty, your years of experience, and your seniority in the field, it can still be helpful to know that Georgia sonographers typically earn between $47,970 and $94,550, with an average salary of $75,040. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell in Georgia offers the highest average salary at $77,070, while Brunswick City has the lowest at $59,450.