Becoming an Ultrasound Technologist: The Complete Guide

January 20, 2020


You’ve decided to become an ultrasound technologist (also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer). No matter whether you already have experience or are starting fresh, there’s never been a better time to gain the skills you’ll need to succeed in this industry.

With thousands of ultrasound tech training programs across America, it’s common for many of them to have selective application processes. Don’t worry: Our comprehensive list provides the tips and tricks you’ll need to attend your ideal ultrasound school (though these steps might differ slightly).

1. Visit the Ultrasound Tech School Campus


Now that you’re taking the steps to become an ultrasound tech, it’s time to choose where you’ll study. During their studies, most prospective techs prefer to stay close to their home and even work their regular jobs. With excellent opportunities throughout the United States, it’s not uncommon to meet students that move somewhere new and exciting, too.

Before applying anywhere, we highly recommend visiting a school in-person to determine if it’s a good fit. While there, you’ll be able to get a better feel for the environment, observe classes, chat with students and instructors, and sit down with an admissions team member.

Make an Appointment with an Admissions Team Member

Admissions experts will help you achieve your academic goals while going over application and enrollment procedures. They’ll ask you about your previous educational achievements, and assist you with any questions you might have about course structure and financial aid opportunities.

2. Determine Your Financial Aid Options

A lot of prospective students wrongly assume that they aren’t eligible for financial assistance to get an ultrasound technologist education. In fact, most full-time students receive at least partial financial aid (as the primary consideration for FAFSA is economic need). Another common assumption is that your FAFSA application is difficult. This is actually a fairly straightforward process and only takes about an hour to complete.

Be sure to submit your information at least a week before applying to your ultrasound technologist school. Getting certified with minimal student debt is great, but getting certified and earning a great ultrasound tech salary is even better.

3. Apply to Ultrasound Technologist Training School

Your program may have rolling admissions, which means that you’re free to apply as soon as starting dates have been posted on the school website.

If your school requires you to physically turn in your application materials, make an appointment with a school representative to do so, as well as to complete an in-person interview with the sonography department. Furthermore, you may be expected to pass an entrance exam such as the Accuplacer, Wonderlic SLE, etc.

Is It Easy to Get Into Ultrasound Tech Certificate Programs?

There may be selective acceptance to your technical school program. When reviewing prospective students, schools look at their highest level of completed education, prior academic performance, exam scores, letters of reference, and how they performed during their interview.

4. Wait for Your Acceptance


After submitting your documents and completing the application process, you’ll have to wait for a decision. Some schools expedite the decision-making process and inform you within a few days while other schools may take longer. Once you’re accepted, you can complete the enrollment process and get ready for your diagnostic medical sonography program.

5. Attend Orientation

Whether just before – or on – the first day of classes, you’ll attend a mandatory orientation. This is an excellent time to understand more about school expectations, policies, and procedures. Take advantage of this time and ask the administration or professors any lingering questions that you may still have.

6. Start Your Ultrasound Technologist Training

While completing requirements to be an ultrasound tech, you’ll learn how to use sonography equipment to create internal images. While some programs include specialties like vascular sonography and adult echocardiography, most focus on the general concentration (e.g. Abdomen, OB/GYN).

7. Finish Your Clinical Internship

Once students complete their classroom instruction, they’ll be placed in an internship that takes between 6 and 12 months. Under the instruction of an experienced mentor, students will gain proficiency to create the best ultrasound images possible to help physicians make informed diagnoses.

8. Take Your DMS Certification Exam

 Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash 


After you finish your classroom education and internship, you’ll be prepared to get your certification. Though it’s a medical job without a degree, most employers want their employees to be certified through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Students will first need to pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam before taking specialty exams like Abdomen (AB) or OB/GYN.

Once you pass your ARDMS specialty exams, you’ll be a registered diagnostic medical sonographer.

Become an Ultrasound Technologist – Apply to Our Program Today

With amazing annual salaries, excellent job satisfaction, and one of the best job growth rates in allied healthcare, prospective ultrasound techs are going to enter a fantastic allied healthcare sector.

Make an appointment with an AIMS Education representative to kickstart your ultrasound tech education today!