Photographers may be able to capture a special moment or emotion, but even the best photographer can’t take a picture of what’s really under our skin. If you work in health care, however, you may have the unique opportunity to capture what’s inside.
Like photographers, ultrasound technicians use high-tech equipment to capture images. But instead of exterior images, these pictures come from inside the human body. And instead of using a camera, ultrasound technicians use ultrasound machines and high-frequency sound waves to produce the images.
Given the importance of the work, you might think ultrasound technician tuition would be astronomical. But at many schools, ultrasound technician degree costs are surprisingly affordable.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Programs
One of the reasons why ultrasound technician degree costs can be low is because many technicians enter the field with a two-year degree. Colleges, universities, and hospitals are the best places to look for formal training via two- and four-year degree programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has accredited more than 150 training programs, the majority of which are associate degree programs.
No states require ultrasound technicians to be licensed, but employers prefer to hire those who are certified or registered. To be eligible to sit for certification or registry exams, you’ll probably need to graduate from an accredited ultrasound technician degree program. Ultrasound technician degree programs may have earned institutional (overall) or programmatic (specialized) certification; check with each professional certifying body to which you’ll be applying to determine the type of accreditation needed.
As an ultrasound technician, you may seek multiple credentials by taking national exams from several professional certifying agencies. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography confers credentials for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers as well as cardiac and vascular sonographers. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers credentials in breast and vascular sonography, and Cardiovascular Credentialing International credentials cardiac sonographers.
Ultrasound Technician Degree Costs
Expect your ultrasound technician tuition to run anywhere from $75 to $500 per credit. Of course, ultrasound technician degree programs at community colleges are generally less expensive than programs at four-year colleges are. Not only is ultrasound technician tuition lower at community colleges, but these schools may also require fewer credits to earn a degree.
At a public university, ultrasound technician degree costs average about $3,000 each year for residents and $11,000 for out-of-state students. Vocational/technical schools tend to charge more — about $18,000 per year.
Since some schools do not disclose their ultrasound technician tuition up front, it’s important to find out the rates before you make a commitment. Some schools raise their tuition every time a new ultrasound technician degree program begins, so you can’t rely on old literature or anecdotal experience. Call the school to get exact figures.
Here’s the heart of the matter: the profession offers a win-win combination of low ultrasound technician tuition and high rewards. If you want a career that delves beneath the surface, become an ultrasound technician today.