Steps to Becoming a Sonographer: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Become a Sonographer: A Comprehensive Guide

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Are you passionate about starting your career in the field of sonography? Wondering about the steps to becoming a sonographer in the U.S.? Are you not sure of what sonographers do in a day? Worry not!

This article should help you gain a better understanding of sonography, the steps to becoming a sonographer, and what a sonographer does in a day. 

What Is Sonography?

Sonography is a painless noninvasive medical procedure that checks a patient’s body and produces images of different parts of the patient’s body. In sonography, the sonographer uses high-frequency sound waves to deliver visual images of the patient’s tissues, organs, or flow of blood inside their body. It is usually the very first test performed when a disease is diagnosed. 

Generally, sonography takes about 15 minutes to 45 minutes to screen a patient’s body parts. Sonography usually takes place in the radiology department of a hospital. The sonography scan is performed either by a radiographer, a doctor, or a sonographer.

Now that you are familiar with sonography, let’s discuss what a sonographer does.

What Does a Sonographer Do?

A sonographer is a professional from the healthcare industry who performs sonography screenings on patients. A medical sonographer specialized in creating visual images of patients’ bodies. These visual images are known as ultrasounds or sonograms. These sonograms depict patients’ body tissue and organs. Sonographers use ultrasound equipment to screen parts of the patient’s body, and diagnose medical conditions.

Let’s now discuss how to become a sonographer in the U.S.

Steps to Becoming a Sonographer

Generally, you need a formal education to become a sonographer in the U.S. Sonographers are required to hold a postsecondary certificate, or an associate’s degree to practice as a sonographer in the U.S. Employers generally prefer sonographers who hold a certification in sonography.

Usually, it takes about 1 to 3 years to become a sonographer in the U.S. The time taken to become a sonographer depends on the type of the program and the duration of the program you choose Students generally take a 2 years degree program to become a sonographer. There are also other programs available, such as 1-year certification program and bachelor’s degree programs.

Here are some steps to becoming a sonographer in the U.S.:

Steps to Becoming a Sonographer
Steps to Becoming a Sonographer
  • Earn a high school diploma.
  • Find the right program.
  • Pass the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) exam.
  • Become a sonographer.
  • Specialize as a sonographer.

Let’s dive into the details.


The very first step to becoming a sonographer is to earn or hold a high school diploma. You must hold a high school diploma, or GED, to be able to apply and complete a sonography course. 


As an aspiring sonographer, it is essential that you choose and enroll in the right program. One of the most important factors you must consider when you choose a program is if the course or the training program is accredited by the state or the respective board in that state. Make sure you choose the program that best suits your requirements.


Once you have completed all the required education, the next step is to take the SPI exam. Make sure that you enroll in the SPI exam, and bring all the required documents on the day of exam for verification purpose. It is essential that you take the SPI exam and pass it to be able to become a sonographer in the U.S.


Employers prefer recruiting candidates who hold the SPI certification. Once you have passed the SPI exam, you are now eligible to apply for the SPI  certification. Once you procure the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) certification, you can practice as a sonographer in the U.S. 


Now that you have become a sonographer, you can screen patients and prepare reports accordingly. You can also choose to specialize as a sonographer. If you want to go a step further, you can specialize in a particular type of sonography, and practice as a specialized sonographer. 

If you wish to become a specialized sonographer in the U.S., you must complete all the required courses, and pass the respective exam.

Wrapping Up

If you have been wondering about what exactly a sonographer does and the steps to becoming a sonographer in the U.S., this article should have given you the answers to all your questions. Sonography is one of the most growing industries in the healthcare sector, and is projected to grow by about 10% between 2021 to 2031, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

If you are someone who is passionate about becoming a sonographer or are planning to take the SPI exam, make sure to try out our free SPI practice test. Our free practice test will help you effectively prepare for the SPI exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Generally, it takes about 1 to 3 years to become a sonographer. The duration totally depends on the type of the program you choose. The most common course opted by students is a 2 years degree program. Bachelor’s degrees and 1 year certification programs are also available.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers is projected to grow by 10% between the years 2021 to 2031. In 2021, the number of job openings for sonographers was 140,400. In the U.S., the demand for sonographers is expected to increase over the years.


Like any career, sonography has its pros and cons. In general, sonography can be a bit challenging, but the level of difficulty depends totally on the individual. If you are passionate about becoming a sonographer, make sure to complete all the required courses and training at a well-reputed school. Completing a course from a good school can be extremely rewarding to your career in the field of sonography.

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