The job market can be a daunting place, especially if you’re just getting started—or looking to start over in a new field. With so many industries showing signs of instability, it can be difficult to feel confident in your next step. However, there’s one field that not only boasts consistent growth but also promises to remain steadfast for years to come: allied healthcare. In this guide we’ll explore one of the most exciting positions available in sonography and ultrasound technicians, plus give you all of the information you need to get started on your path to becoming one.
If you’ve found yourself on this page, you’re already aware that healthcare professionals are not limited to doctors and nurses. While they may be the face of the profession, they are not the only ones who can find fulfilling, impactful, and well-paying careers in the field.
Many Texas universities and community colleges offer fast-tracked associate degrees in sonography, making it possible to start earning a higher salary in a matter of months. Want to take the next step and choose the right sonography program for you? Keep reading to get started.
Popular Sonography & Ultrasound Tech Programs in Texas
Sonography and ultrasound technician programs and schools in Texas often offer a combined or hybrid curriculum, allowing you to learn the theory and skills you need in the classroom to take successful part in hands-on clinical experiences. Check out the profiles we’ve written below to get a better idea of what makes a school standout and what you should look for in other programs.
The College of Health Care Professions
The College of Health Care Professions offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree Program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Over the course of this degree program, students learn the basics of how to perform abdomen and gynecology imaging via ultrasound. Graduates of the program are equipped to for entry-level positions. While the cost of attending The College of Health Care Professions varies by location, you can expect to pay about $42,000 for the entire program.
This 96-week program is delivered in a hybrid learning format, meaning students take certain classes online, while other classes are held in person. Students can also take advantage of the variety of campuses across Texas located in Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and McAllen.
The program admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED and a minimum score of 21 on the Scholastic Level Exam . All applicants must also complete a criminal background check.
Houston Community College
Houston Community College offers a four-semester program that culminates in a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate of Applied Science. The program begins every fall and is offered exclusively on a full-time, day-only basis. The hybrid learning option offers students a mix of in-person and virtual classes that equip them with the skills to recognize the sonographic appearance of structures, disease processes, and pathologies.
Houston Community College’s Abdomen-Extended and Obstetrics & Gynecology DMS Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). In-state tuition for the program is roughly $8,892; this does not include the cost of any general education classes students may still need to take.
Prospective students must complete an information session before they are able to submit an application. To be considered for admission, students must have a high school GPA of at least 2.5 GPA and a minimum grade of C in the following prerequisite courses: college algebra, English composition, and advanced biology, among others.
South Texas College
South Texas College offers a full-time, 60-credit Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate of Applied Science degree program that begins each spring semester. Students take classes with and gain clinical experience under experienced sonographers, during which time they gain extensive knowledge in ultrasound physics and instrumentation and cross-sectional anatomy and pathophysiology. South Texas College also offers a 43-credit Advanced Technical Certificate program.
South Texas tuition fees vary according to the proximity of students’ living arrangements to the college. In-district associate degree students pay just under $10,000 in tuition while out-of-district students pay a little over $10,000, and non-residents pay $15,000.
To be accepted to the program, applicants must first attend a student information session at the Nursing & Allied Health Campus. Acceptance is based on factors including students’ test scores, high school GPAs, and completion of required courses with a minimum grade of “B.” Acceptance is also contingent on a clean background check and drug test.
Sonography & Ultrasound Tech Program Checklist
No matter where you live or how quickly you want to earn your degree, you want to be sure your sonography program has a few key features. That’s why we’ve written up the ultimate checklist of must-haves that you can supplement with features that matter to you. Keep reading to learn why going to an ultrasound school in Texas that checks these boxes is so important.
FAQs About Ultrasound and Sonography Programs in Texas
Texas is a huge state with a wide array of colleges and sonography programs, so it’s natural if you still have some lingering questions. That’s why we’ve answered some of the most common questions about these online sonography programs in Texas:
Are there online sonography programs in Texas?
Sonography is a skill you’ll need to apply in person, so training face-to-face is always going to be necessary to some extent when pursuing a degree in the field. Plenty of schools offer hybrid learning opportunities that allow you to take some classes online.
Can I get an advanced degree in sonography?
Most universities offer associate or bachelor’s degrees in sonography or ultrasound fields. Master’s and other advanced degrees are far less common, although some schools offer additional certificates that teach you advanced skills or specialties.
How do I get certified?
In Texas, as in most states, you can earn your certification after graduating from your program by sitting for exams in your specialty of choice through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Passing these exams indicates to any sonography or imaging job that you have met rigorous criteria in your knowledge and expertise in sonography.
How much does a sonography and ultrasound tech program cost?
Programs across Texas vary in cost. Many colleges and community colleges offer associate degrees for in-state students for less than $10,000. That said, there are some costly programs. The College of Health Care Professions, for example, comes in at about $42,000.
What is the difference between a sonographer and an ultrasound technician?
The terms sonographer and ultrasound technician are often used interchangeably, as they both refer to professionals who use imaging technology to scan and x-ray medical patients. There is a slight difference in the two, however. Ultrasound technician programs tend to be more generalized and prepare you for entry-level positions while sonographers get require more training and often earn more specialized degrees.
What prerequisites do I need before I start a sonography program?
Most colleges in Texas require prerequisites, but these typically vary across programs. Associate degrees, for example, often have fewer prerequisites than bachelor’s degrees. Both usually require a minimum GPA, certain test scores, and/or certain grades in past math and science classes.
What jobs can I get after graduation and how well do they pay?
An associate or bachelor’s degree in sonography opens you up to careers as an ultrasound technician or sonographer in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and imaging centers. In the Greater Houston area alone, the sonography industry is expected to grow by 23.4% in the next few years. In Texas, the average salary for a sonographer or ultrasound tech ranges from $35,000 – $100,000, depending on your degree and experience level.
Texas Licensing & Regulatory Requirements
To work as a sonographer or ultrasound tech in Texas, many employers require that you hold certain certifications and meet certain requirements. Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific licensing requirements you’ll encounter as a sonographer in Texas.
Working in a hospital or clinical setting requires a specific set of skills you can only earn through hands-on clinical experience. Even if you attend a primarily online sonography program in Texas there will be a required in-person component. Your clinical experience also signals to your future employer(s) that you know what you’re doing in a practical sense.
Continuing Education, Renewal & Career Advancement
Sonography and ultrasound equipment, like all medical technology, is constantly evolving. Staying up to date with this evolving technology helps you understand the changing landscape of medical imaging. To maintain your certification in Texas, you must take a certain number of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits according to your area of specialization. You must also pay an annual fee of $95 to renew your credentials each year.
Many sonography schools in Texas culminate in an associate degree. This degree offers students a strong foundation in sonography principles and practices and will help you secure an entry-level position upon graduation. Some Texas universities also offer more intensive bachelor’s degree programs that offer a deeper understanding of the profession and help students land more specialized positions after graduation.
Examination & Certification Requirements
While not technically required, any job you get in Texas as a sonographer is likely to expect you to hold an ARDMS credential. To earn this credential, students must pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination within five years of graduation from your certificate or degree program.
Scope of Practice and Regulations
Like every individual working in the healthcare sector, sonographers and ultrasound technicians are obligated to meet rigorous ethical guidelines and operate exclusively within their scope of practice. Since there is no overarching body that sets these regulations, you’ll be required to operate according to your employer’s standards, which may differ from one medical facility to another.
Job Prospects & Salary Insights for Sonographers in Texas
Sonography, and the allied health field as a whole, is projected to continue growing steadily over at least the next decade. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that available sonography jobs will increase by 10% (much faster than average) between 2022 and 2023.
And the good news doesn’t stop there. In Texas, the average salaries of diagnostic medical sonographers across major cities hovers around $70,000, according to Projections Central. You can also expect to see the experience you gain in the industry reflected in your salary over time; in some areas sonographers’ salaries exceed $100,000. Take a look at the different salary averages across different cities in Texas below: