Iowa Sonography Tech Careers and Degrees

Receiving Your Sonogram Technician in Iowa

A certificate in diagnostic medical sonography (DMS) takes one year to complete. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, getting a certificate may be your best option. Some of the areas that will make up your DMS classes are gynecological and obstetrical ultrasound, and echocardiography. As a sonography student, will also be expected to do several clinical rotations in order to get experience in different fields. You will also be trained to maintain and inspect your equipment. Since you will be interacting with patients constantly as a part of your duties, you will be trained in patient care; this includes learning how to communicate with them and to pay attention to both their physical and mental state as you administer the tests. An associate degree will usually take two years and a bachelor’s four years. Both the bachelor’s and the associate program will include more lab work and hands on training than the certificate program. In addition to relevant science courses like biology and physics, sonography students will also learn to think critically and to solve problems. Some of the institutions in Iowa that offer DMS courses are University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Mercy College, and Allen College.

Sonography Licensing in Iowa

While a few states require that sonogram technicians be licensed, most do not. In Iowa, there is no licensing requirement; however, most employers do prefer registry-eligible candidates. As a certified sonogram tech, you can register with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry for Radiologic Technicians (ARRTS). The ARDMS registry is independent and not-for-profit and was established in 1975; it has the stated goal of promoting patient safety via the certification of ultrasound professionals. Along with being registered, continuing education is another important part of being a sonographer. Continuing education certification provides assurance that you have kept up with changes in technology and are qualified to use newer equipment and methods. The ARRT provides continuing education certification. All radiologic technologists (including sonographers) are required to report a minimum of 24 Category A credits every two years when they renew their registration. ARDMS certification lasts 10 years, with recertification assessments during the last three years. You will have to earn at least 30 ARDMS-accepted CMEs during that three-year period.

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Career Outlook for Sonogram Technicians in Iowa

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook of sonographers is expected to grow by 18 percent by 2018. Other factors that will impact your career prospects include the fact that many patients will want to avoid tests that involve the use of radiation and the fact that sonography has a lower cost than other testing methods. With an aging American population, similar growth is expected for other medical professions. If you are certified in multiple areas, you will have above average prospects for employment in Iowa. Diagnostic medical sonographers can find work in Iowa’s physicians’ practices, hospitals or in diagnostic laboratories.