Virginia Sonography Tech Careers and Degrees
Receiving your Sonogram Technician Training in Virginia
There are four accredited sonography schools in Virginia. They are: Northern Virginia Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College, Tidewater Community College, and Southside Regional Medical Professional Schools.
Most sonography tech training programs are two year programs offering an associate’s degree in sonography. A school’s diagnostic sonography program is usually a combination of classroom work paired with laboratory simulations that are held in clinical environments. Some schools work with hospitals they send their sonography students to. In the two years of the program, students can sometimes be assigned to hospitals, so they can gain a better understanding of the skills needed to practice diagnostic work in a high-energy, fast-paced environment.
A program’s class curriculum usually consists of courses in a range of topics. There are courses on: cross-sectional anatomy, abdominal sonography, ultrasound physics, and obstetrics and gynecology sonography. To finish the clinical work in the program, students must demonstrate a wide range of skills. Students must have the ability to integrate laboratory results, patient history, and medical records to make sonographic adjustments as necessary. Graduates must be able to work on their feet all day, as well as lift, transfer, and assist patients from a wheelchair or a stretcher onto an examination table. Graduating from the program will qualify students to take a registry test that all sonographers need to pass in order to get a job in the state of Virginia.
Sonography Technician Licensing in Virginia
Currently, the state of Virginia does not require that its sonographers be licensed. However, to get a job in the state, licensure and proper certification is required. To become certified, sonographers need to acquire certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, also known as ARDMS, by passing the registry’s examination.
To qualify for the ARDMS exam, you can take two steps. The easiest and most common way is to graduate from a sonography program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The more uncommon route to sonography certification is to gain 12 months of clinical experience working the job in a hospital or clinic. But since most hospitals and clinics will not hire you without certification in the first place, this route is not much of an option anymore.
Career Outlook for Sonogram Technicians in Virginia
Sonographers looking for work in Virginia will be able to find it in the state’s many hospitals, in obstetrics and gynecology clinics, as well as in private health care clinics. In all of these places, the ultrasound technology is constantly being modified, refurbished, and improved upon, so it’s important that sonographers continue to learn how to operate the latest technology.