13 Best Ultrasound Tech Schools in 2023

May 9, 2023

best ultrasound tech schools

When you think of ultrasounds, the classic black and white image of a growing fetus is likely the first thing that comes to mind, but ultrasound technology actually plays a pivotal role in a wide range of medical fields. At ultrasound tech schools, students learn to operate sonography equipment and decipher 2D, 3D, and 4D images of every part of the human body, providing compassionate care to patients and crucial medical information to doctors.

Aspiring ultrasound techs—or diagnostic medical sonographers, as they’re often called—can expect to take a broad range of classes to prepare them for their career. Prerequisites often include biology, chemistry, physiology, and ethics. And advanced coursework includes the study of anatomy as well as coursework in sonography and medical diagnosis. Most ultrasound tech schools allow students to pursue general sonography or specialize in particular parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, or vascular system.

Because they work closely with patients and doctors, great ultrasound techs have excellent communication skills on top of technical savvy. Employers also expect substantial clinical experience before hiring, so the best ultrasound tech schools will have strong internship partnerships with a variety of medical centers.

Some questions you may be wondering before getting started:

  • How much do ultrasound techs make?
  • How long does it take to become an ultrasound tech?
  • Can I complete ultrasound tech programs online?

Keep reading to find out all you need to know!

How Much Do Ultrasound Techs Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for diagnostic medical sonographers in 2021 was $77,740 per year. They also expect the field to grow by 10% by 2031, which is a higher-than-average rate of growth.

Like any career field, your salary will vary depending on where you live, and medical sonographer salaries also vary depending on level of education and specialization. The median pay for cardiovascular sonographers, for example, is $60,570, while the average pay for neurosonographers is $101,095.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

To qualify for entry-level ultrasound tech positions, applicants need to earn an associate’s degree or certificate, which typically takes two years. For students pursuing advanced specializations, research opportunities, or high-level positions, a 4-year bachelor’s degree is the way go to.

Regardless of your educational pathway, all ultrasound techs are required to pass the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer certification exam before beginning full-time work. Sonographers who wish to work within specialized fields must pass additional certification exams.

The Best Ultrasound Tech Schools

Whether you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, certificate, or online program, there are so many ways dive into to this quickly growing field. Read on for our list of the best four-year, two-year, and online ultrasound tech schools.

Note: The criteria considered in compiling this list included peer reputation, unique programs/opportunities, and career connections/outcomes data. As with all rankings, we advise not to place too much emphasis on whether a school was listed at #1 or #7. The better way to use this list would be as a launching off point to further explore each of the schools that all have sonography programs to see which best suit your unique needs. 

Four-Year Ultrasound Tech Schools

1) Oregon Institute of Technology

Oregon Institute of Technology’s 4-year bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography allows students to specialize in gynecologic, abdominal, or breast sonography, opening doors to a range of medical careers. During their senior year, OIT students complete a for-credit externship that grants them invaluable clinical experience. Easily counted as one of the best ultrasound tech schools, OIT boasts a 100% pass rate on the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams for the last ten years.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $11,622
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $32,516
  • Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon

2) Seattle University

Often placed as one of the top ultrasound tech schools in the country, Seattle University is a private Jesuit university located in downtown Seattle. Because of its urban location, SU students can gain experience interning at a broad range of medical centers, including inpatient and outpatient teaching hospitals, community hospitals, and ambulatory care clinics. While enrolled, SU students decide to specialize in cardiac, general, or vascular sonography.

  • Annual Tuition: $49,335
  • Location: Seattle, Washington

3) Rochester Institute of Technology

A private research university, Rochester Institute of Technology prioritizes experiential learning through hands-on work in their ultrasound scanning suite and clinical work at affiliated hospitals. At RIT, all incoming first year and transfer students receive financial aid. Thanks to a recent $1.2 million dollar donation, RIT students train on the most up to date ultrasound equipment.

  • Annual Tuition: $52,765
  • Location: Rochester, New York

The Best Ultrasound Tech Schools (Continued)

4) Ohio State University

Since 2010, Ohio State University’s sonography graduates have had a 100% job placement rate. A particularly robust program, OSU offers three majors: radiography, radiation therapy, and sonography. Students can expect to study in smaller classrooms of 10-20 students and complete an impressive 1,600 hours of clinical experience before graduating. A university at the forefront of medical research, OSU faculty won the 2022 K. Gottesfeld award for best scientific publication in the field of sonography.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $11,936
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $35,019
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio

5) University of Iowa

A rare three-year bachelor’s program, University of Iowa students can complete required coursework and clinical experience in just three short years. During their freshman year at UI, undergraduates apply for either the general or cardiac sonography major tracks, gaining access to small classes focused on advanced topics and clinical experience. Known as a top program with a strong focus on research and medical care, UI’s school of medicine recently received a $28 million dollar grant to expand their reach across Iowa.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $9,942
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $31,905
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa

6) University of Missouri

A large school with connections throughout Missouri, Mizzou students complete rotations at multiple medical rotations that prepare for them for a broad range of careers. All students learn to perform abdominal, OB/GYN, vascular, and cardiac ultrasounds before choosing their specialization. In their last two years, Mizzou students take classes and work clinical rotations year-round, giving them a significant edge heading into their job hunt.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $11,475
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $30,450
  • Location: Columbia, Missouri

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7) University of Oklahoma

Since 1978, the University of Oklahoma’s College of Allied Health has been minting well-trained future sonographers. One of the best ultrasound tech schools for those interested in conducting research as undergraduates, students can work with faculty on collaborative research in the sonography lab, apply for grants, and attend panels and workshops at OU’s annual Research Day.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $12,012
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $27,816
  • Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Two-Year Ultrasound Tech Schools

1) Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

After graduating with their associate’s, Cincinnati State students are fully prepared to enter the workforce as entry-level diagnostic sonographers. CState students specialize in cardiovascular or general sonography, complete rotations at partner clinics in Cincinnati, and are eligible to sit for the certification exam once all requirements are met.

  • Annual In State Tuition: $5,040
  • Annual Out of State Tuition: $9,090
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

2) Loma Linda University

A private, Seventh-day Adventist university, Loma Linda University offers a 27-month bachelor’s degree or a 1-year certificate in cardiac sonography. To complete a bachelor’s degree in medical sonography, students spend 32-35 hours per week in a clinical setting and take 20% of their classes online. To earn the certificate, students must take classes focused on cardiac conditions, gain clinical experience, and pass their medical sonographer exam.

  • Annual Tuition: $32,736
  • Location: Loma Linda, California

3) Rochester Institute of Technology

While RIT’s 4-year bachelor’s degree can help you qualify for high level jobs, their 18-month certificate offers all you need for an entry-level position. Certificate students intern with at least two medical centers and have access to the same state of the art ultrasound scanning suite as 4-year students.

  • Annual Tuition: $52,765
  • Location: Rochester, New York

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4) Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers twenty-one different majors that allow students to study everything from radiography to nuclear medicine technology. Students who want to pursue careers as ultrasound techs can choose a degree in either sonography or sonography-echocardiography. Both pathways have 3-year accelerated or 2-year fast track programs, making MCPHS one of the best ultrasound tech schools for students who want to finish their bachelor’s degree quickly.

  • Annual Tuition: $35,800
  • Location: Boston or Worcester, Massachusetts

5) Seattle University

While Seattle University has an outstanding 4-year program (see more above), they also offer a well-regarded 2-year certificate program. In this program, students take one year of classes and then gain hands-on experience interning at local medical facilities.

  • Annual Tuition: $49,335
  • Location: Seattle, Washington

6) Nova Southeastern University

Future sonographers wishing to graduate in two years can pursue Nova Southeastern University’s 27-month bachelor’s degree in medical sonography. A school that prioritizes experiential learning, NSU students receive more than 800 hours of hands-on training in lab and clinical settings.

  • Annual Tuition: $28,331
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ultrasound Tech Programs Online

1) Oregon Institute of Technology

In addition to a campus-based 4-year degree, Oregon Institute of Technology offers an online Bachelor of Science for professionals who are already working as registered sonographers. Students can build on previous coursework through this full online program, advancing their career with an additional degree. Students must have access to a fully equipped laboratory to complete required clinical and externship courses.

  • Tuition: $294 per credit hour

2) Washburn University

Students who already have an associate’s degree in a healthcare field can choose to further their career through Washburn University’s one year certificate program. All of WU’s classes are taught online, and students can complete required clinicals at a facility close to home. Although classes are taught remotely, WU prioritizes student engagement. 60% of WU’s courses have 20 students or fewer.

  • Tuition: $418 per credit hour

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3) Fort Hays State University

Professionals who have already completed a radiologic technology degree can enroll in Fort Hays State University’s fully online program for advanced study of medical imaging. With coursework in radiography, MRIs, and sonography, this school is a great fit for students looking to master a range of imaging technologies.

  • Tuition: $227 per credit hour

4) Jackson College

Jackson College’s program allows students to earn an associate’s degree in either cardiac or general sonography. Students complete all coursework online and work 32 hours per week in a clinical setting, accruing substantial work experience before entering the workforce.

  • In-District Tuition: $24,000 (two-year total)
  • Out of District Tuition: $26,000 (two-year total)

Best Ultrasound Tech Schools – Related Majors

Interested in working in medical care but not sure you want to be an ultrasound tech? Consider a career in public health and check out our list of the best nursing schools. For even more career options, explore the best trade school jobs and use College Transition’s Dataverse to learn more about other great degree choices.