Ultrasound Training Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?
When are classes?
What are the prerequisite requirements?
Will I be guaranteed a job when I graduate?
When are classes held?
Are night classes available?
What is the cost of the program?
How do I apply?
When is the application deadline?
How do I pay for tuition and books?
What is “tuition assistance”?
Where will I be assigned for clinical rotations?
Are all clinical sites hospital facilities?
Are all medical facilities clinical sites?
Is a particular uniform required for clinical education?
Is the program hard?
What is the average pay for a sonographer in the US?
When and where is orientation?
Is the Sonography Program at Academy of Ultrasound Accredited?
When is graduation?
Will I learn to do vascular ultrasound or echocardiography?


How long is the program?

The Sonography program is an 18-month full-time program providing didactic and clinical education in specialty areas for prospective sonographers. Classes will begin in January/April/July/October and will finish 18 months later.

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When are classes?
Class are give in a distance learning format. Students should be prepared to spend approximately 40 hours per week on their studies. During the first 9 months of the Program, scan labs will be held at the Academy of Ultrasound.  These labs will consist of 3 – 4, weekend long (3 day) sessions.  Clinical rotations at the clinical sites begin during the third quarter of the Program.  Clinical rotations will consist of 4 days per week.

Students should expect long days. Clinical rotations are generally 8-hour days (not including lunch).  Adequate time must also be allotted for homework and study.

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What are the prerequisite requirements?
Applicants must be a graduate of an 18-24 month accredited Allied Health program with current certification/registration in their health specialty. Allied Health occupations include, but are not limited to: Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapist, Registered Nurse, and Registered Medical Technologist. Applicants that do not have an Allied Health background can also meet program requirements by completing 60 college credits with a cumulative minimum grade point average of 2.75. In addition, all applicants must complete the following courses with a grade of “C” or better:

  • General Physics (college level)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology with lab (college level)
  • Algebra
  • Verbal Communication Skills (college level)
  • Written Communication Skills (college level)
  • Medical Terminology

Please review the prerequisite requirements for a complete listing of qualifying courses.

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Will I be guaranteed a job when I graduate?
Job placement assistance with Academy of Ultrasound is included.  We offer registry review and guidance so you when you graduate from our program you will have every opportunity to have passed the national registry.  With your education and a passed registry we will then be able to help guide you in your search for a desirable job in sonography.   We work with many recruiting firms and major travel staffing companies, and if you are willing to relocate your chances of immediate placement are improved.

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Where are classes held?
Didactic classes for Sonography are held in a distance learning format.  With this format you can take the coursework via your computer and online training.  This allows you 24/7 availability to coordinate your studies with your schedule.  You will still be expected to follow a course time schedule, to assure you do not fall behind.  Clinical rotations are arranged at various medical facilities throughout the United States, by the Program Director.  With your assistance in the process, clinicals may be able to be arrange close to your home.

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Are night classes available?
All didactic classes are in a distance format, so you may complete your coursework at night.

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What is the cost of the program?
Tuition for the Sonography program is $14,850 for the full program including books, when paid in full.  You will still be responsible for approximately $600 in uniforms and supplies.

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How do I apply?
Applications are accepted at any time for upcoming sessions. All transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution to Academy of Ultrasound.  We suggest that you start your application 3 months before the session you wish to attend, to assure all transcripts are received in time.   Please see How to Apply for detailed instructions.

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When is the application deadline?
Applications will be available continually.   All transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution to Academy of Ultrasound and must be received no later than 30 days prior to beginning of session.

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How do I pay for tuition and books?
Tuition and fees are paid directly to Academy of Ultrasound prior to beginning of each session.  Information regarding tuition assistance is presented in the application package.

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What is the “tuition assistance”?
Students are eligible to pay their tuition in payments or up front.  Those desiring to pay all tuition and fees at once will receive substantial savings.  Information on specifics of this program are presented in the application package.

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Where will I be assigned for clinical rotations?
Final clinical assignments for all programs are made by the Program Director with input from the program staff. Clinical assignments are made to ensure all students receive an equitable high quality clinical education during their enrollment. Every attempt is made to place a student as close to home as possible, however clinical rotations are often limited by the number of students living within a specific geographic region and by the number of clinical sites available in that area. In order to obtain clinical sites closer to their home the student will contact local facilities and inquire as  to their ability to accept clinical training for students.  Once a facility, willing to accept a student, is located then the Academy staff becomes involved and completes the process of affiliation. Should local facilities not be located, students may be required to rotate between clinical sites during the course of their clinical education to ensure all students receive exposure to a variety of imaging equipment or imaging procedures.  All students must be prepared and willing to commit themselves to any travel time required to achieve the educational goals of the program. This may also include relocation, to a clinical site’s location,  for a period of time. Rotation requirements will be presented to the student by their respective Program Director.

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Are all clinical sites hospital facilities?
A majority of the clinical sites used for clinical rotations by the sonography program are hospitals. We will also allow clinics or Dr. offices to have affiliation agreements, if the student will receive exposure to enough procedures and volumes.  These will be considered on a case by case basis.

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Are all Medical Facilities clinical sites?
Not all medical facilities can be clinical sites of the Program. A clinical site is carefully evaluated to ensure they meet the requirements of a clinical education center and can offer optimum training for the students.  This determination is made on a case by case basis and involves the number and type of exams performed.

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Is a particular uniform required for clinical education?
Students represent the School when they are participating in clinical rotations and are required to dress in scrubs during participation in clinical rotations. In addition, all students are required to wear a clean and pressed white lab-coat over their scrubs.

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Is the program hard?
Learning ultrasound is much harder than most people think. There is a tremendous amount of material to cover in a minimal amount of time. Learning ultrasound requires extensive study of ultrasound physics and instrumentation as well as anatomy, physiology, typical sonographic appearances, and pathophysiology of the heart and vascular system. A tremendous amount of time outside of clinicals is required for reading and studying. Learning to “see” anatomy and pathology on ultrasound is challenging as well. Ultrasound is a skill that requires considerable thought and practice.

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What is the average pay for a sonographer in the United States?
Entry salaries range from $21 to $35 per hour. Salaries usually vary with experience and the number of specialty areas a sonographer is registered in.

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When and where is the orientation?
Prior to the start of class there is a mandatory program orientationOrientation is usually the first week of each session.  This orientation is usually held via telephone or web conference.  Students accepted into Academy of Ultrasound programs must participate in this orientation or they forfeit their admission. During this time students will receive orientation to Academy of Ultrasound and specific information related to the program.

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Is the sonography program accredited?
The Echocardiography program is in process of applying for national accredition.  This is a long and tedious process, taking several years.  Once national accreditation is received then the program and be reviewed by  the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The process includes outcomes of graduates including registry pass rates, employment among other aspects.  All graduates of Academy of Ultrasound are eligible to take the national registry even before the accreditation is completed. See our report on accreditation vs. non-accreditation.

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When is Graduation?
Sonography students will finish classes and receive a certificate of completion at the end of the 18 month program.  Students may apply to take the ARDMS or CCI registry examinations upon completing the program and can test as soon as they receive a verification letter from the ARDMS upon satisfactory completion of the program. The graduation ceremony is held the last week of each session for all Academy of Ultrasound programs. Graduates from all programs are recognized at this single ceremony.

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Will I learn to do vascular ultrasound or echocardiography?
The Echocardiography program is a specific ultrasound program. The curriculum content centers on teaching Echocardiography. The program is designed to prepare graduates for work in a specific hospital setting. While the curriculum does include a study of hemodynamics, Doppler, color Doppler, power Doppler, and an introduction to vascular sonography, graduates are not trained to do vascular sonography  in a single program.  Students are eligible to complete an additional training session in vascular sonography, which is 6 months in duration. The JRCDMS , CCI and ARDMS recommend a minimum of six months additional experience for additional specialty education.

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