Sonography, Associate in Applied Science Degree

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      Kelsey King
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Sonography is the newest program for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, beginning in January 2015. There are two degree tracks available for the Sonography program, Medical Sonography and Cardiac Sonography. Both track curriculums can be found on the Curriculum link to the left.

You might recognize sonography by its most recognized procedure, ultrasounds for expecting mothers. But it is far more than that.

Sonography uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. It is used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, prostate, heart and blood vessels.

It is increasingly being used in the treatment of heart disease, heart attack and vascular disease that can lead to stroke. Unlike X-rays, sonography is  radiation-free.

Program Description for Sonography

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a program that prepares individuals who under the supervision of physicians utilize medical ultrasound techniques to gather sonographic data used to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases. The program includes instruction in obtaining, reviewing, and integrating patient histories and data; patient instruction and care; anatomic, physiologic and pathologic data recording; sonographic data processing; sonography equipment operation; and professional standards and ethics.

Attributes/skills needed include:

  • Compassionate and emotionally mature
  • Good eye/hand coordination
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Interest in math and physical science
  • Ability to work with all types of people and be part of a team
  • Ability to calm nervous patients
  • Ability to stand/walk for long periods of time
  • Work with precise limits or standards
  • Make decisions using personal judgment
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to picture forms in space
  • Understand the meanings of words and present information clearly
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle emergencies


The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate Degree program at Scott Community College is a two-year, full-time program admitting a limited number of students every year. Classroom instruction is coupled with supervised clinical experiences at local hospitals and clinics.

NOTE: There are unique requirements for admission to the Sonography program. Students are required to have previously earned an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) or higher level degree in a health-related field.

Employment for Sonography

Sonography is a well-paying profession. According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers make from $40,000 to more than $70,000 per year.

Although hospitals remain the primary employer of diagnostic medical sonographers, employment is projected to grow more rapidly in physicians' offices and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Employment in these healthcare settings is projected to increase because of a shift toward outpatient care whenever possible.

As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the need to diagnose medical conditions—such as blood clots and tumors—will likely increase and imaging technology is a tool used in making these diagnoses.

Diagnostic imaging workers will continue to be needed to use and maintain the equipment needed for diagnosis and treatment.