how to become a sonographer

To practise as an accredited sonographer in Australia you must have completed a graduate diploma or masters program that has been accredited by the ASAR, including completing a comprehensive clinical training program (usually equivalent to three days per week for two years). Entry to the tertiary programs is available to candidates who have completed an initial appropriate undergraduate degree in health sciences.

The ASAR has been appointed by the Australian Government to determine the minimum qualification criteria for sonographers accredited to practise in Australia, accredit sonography courses and maintain a registry of sonographers and accredited courses.

To practise as an accredited sonographer in New Zealand the New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board (NZMRTB) has prescribed one New Zealand postgraduate qualification for a person to be eligible for registration in the scope of practice of sonographer: Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science (Ultrasound).

Sonography education programs

Applicants to postgraduate sonography studies must be holders of degree-level qualifications in the health sciences. Most students have degrees in fields such as medical radiation technology, nuclear medicine technology, physiotherapy and nursing. Postgraduate programs are offered by distance learning and require students to undertake concurrent clinical training in a workplace. The entrance requirements will differ between institutions, so contacting a number of institutions to compare options is highly recommended.
As with many other health professions, sonography is constantly evolving. The ASA has recently published Guiding Principles for Sonographer Education which we encourage future entrants to the profession to read and consider. All entrants into the profession should ensure the course of study they undertake is accredited by the ASAR or the NZMRTB as this is the only pathway to become an accredited sonographer. 
In addition to postgraduate programs, there is one linked undergraduate/accredited graduate diploma program currently offered in Australia allowing applicants the opportunity to study sonography without having first taken another degree. It is a linked program, where students undertake a three-year undergraduate program in sonography followed directly by a graduate diploma. To achieve accreditation, students must complete the accredited graduate diploma.

Educational institutions currently offering accredited programs in medical sonography in Australia are:

For information on accreditation, please visit ASAR.

The educational institution currently offering an accredited program in medical sonography in New Zealand is:

Clinical training / student sonographer positions

Generally the most challenging aspect of seeking to become a sonographer is securing a student sonographer position. With the exception of the linked undergraduate/accredited graduate diploma program, students are responsible for finding a position in either the public or private sector. Often the institution you are enrolled in can provide guidance to students however - as with many other health professions - the difficulty of this task should not be under-estimated. Institutions will not allow students to progress beyond the initial non-clinical units without proof that they are undertaking clinical training. The ASA recognises the significant barrier of entry into the profession that this presents, and continues to work with governments and other stakeholders to ease this situation. More information available at finding a clinical placement

Joining the ASA – free membership for student sonographers

ASA membership is free to student sonographers currently studying accredited programs in medical sonography in Australia and New Zealand. The programs must be accredited by the ASAR or the NZMRTB. Individual proof of enrolment will be required on submitting your Student Membership application. Student Members can also take out optional insurance cover under the ASA’s professional indemnity, legal benefits and public liability insurance. The ASA strongly recommends all sonographers, including students, protect themselves against risks by holding cover independent of the cover held by their employer.

Find out more about the benefits of membership or complete the student membership application form.