How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your prior experience and education. However, on average, it takes around two years to become an ultrasound technician.

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If you’re thinking about a career in ultrasound technology you may be wondering how long it will take to complete your training and become eligible to sit for the certification exam. The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because there are several different ways to become an ultrasound technician, and the length of time it takes can vary depending on which route you take. In this article, we’ll explore the different paths to becoming an ultrasound tech and give you a better idea of how long it might take to achieve your goal.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician?

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use ultrasound machines to create images of patients’ internal organs, blood flow and fetuses during pregnancy. The process is painless and noninvasive, and the images can be used to diagnose a variety of medical conditions. Most ultrasound technicians complete a two-year associate’s degree program, though some may choose to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Online Programs

Most schools that offer accredited online programs for aspiring ultrasound techs have the same prerequisites as campus-based programs. These typically include courses in algebra, human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and college-level English. Some schools may also require students to complete a certain number of clinical hours at an approved healthcare facility.

Aspiring ultrasound techs can typically complete their studies in about two years, although some programs may take up to four years to complete if students are enrolled on a part-time basis.

On-Campus Programs

An ultrasound technician, also called a diagnostic medical sonographer uses special equipment to direct sound waves into patients’ bodies. The echoes produce pictures of the inside of the body that are used to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Although most technicians hold an associate’s degree, you can enter the profession with a certificate or a bachelor’s degree. It typically takes two to four years to complete a program, depending on the type of program you choose.

The majority of ultrasound technician programs are two-year associate’s degree programs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These programs, which lead to an Associate of Science (AS) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, typically take four semesters or about two years to complete if you attend school full time. Some schools offer accelerated options that let you earn your degree in less time. For example, you might be able to complete your AS degree in 18 months by attending classes year-round and taking extra courses each semester.

A smaller number of schools offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs typically take four years to complete if you attend school full time. However, many students take longer than four years to earn their degree because they attend school part time while they work as a sonographer. If you choose this path, be prepared for your schooling to take five years or more.

A few schools offer certificate programs in diagnostic medical sonography that can be completed in 12 months or less if you attend school full time. These programs typically require that you have completed at least some college coursework before enrolling

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs allow students to complete some coursework online and some in person. These programs typically take about two years to complete, but may take longer if you opt for a part-time schedule. Many of these programs also require that students complete an clinical internship in order to graduate.

What Are the Prerequisites for Becoming an Ultrasound Technician?

Depending on the program, you’ll likely need to have completed high school or a GED and some college coursework. Programs typically last between 24 and 36 months, although some may be as short as 12 months. You’ll spend time in both classroom and clinical settings, and you may be required to complete a practicum or externship before you can earn your degree.

What Are the Career Options for Ultrasound Technicians?

Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use ultrasound machines to create images of patients’ internal organs and blood flow. This information is used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Ultrasound technicians may specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as cardiology (heart health), obstetrics (pregnancy) or oncology (cancer). They typically work in hospitals, physician offices or outpatient clinics, and may be required to work evenings or weekends depending on the facility’s hours of operation.

Most ultrasound technician programs last between 1-2 years and lead to an associate’s degree or certificate. Some 4-year colleges also offer bachelor’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography.


In conclusion, becoming an ultrasound technician generally takes around two years. However, the amount of time it will take you to become an ultrasound technician will vary depending on the specific program you choose and your previous educational and professional experience.

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