Becoming a Sonographer in Alabama: What to Know

Unofficially nicknamed the Yellowstone State, Alabama became the 22nd state of the Union with its admission on December 14, 1819. Barely half a century later, it joined the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Alabama is sometimes referred to as the “Heart of Dixie,” denoting its central location in the southern United States, as well as its role in the history and culture of the subregion. Its capital city is Montgomery.

Sonography Education in Alabama
There are six sonography schools in Alabama. One of them is solely dedicated to ultrasound technology education. Located in Mobile, Alabama’s oldest city, the Cardiac and Vascular Institute of Ultrasound (CVIU) offers two one-year certificate program tracks: cardiac sonography, which focuses on scanning the heart; and vascular sonography, which focuses on blood vessels. Some CVIU students can combine both tracks for a two-year program.

The other five sonography schools in Alabama offer the two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Three of such Alabama sonography schools are traditional local-level educational institutions: Trenholm State Technical College, George C. Wallace State Community College and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College; the last two institutions are named after the 45th governor of Alabama and his first wife, respectively. The Community College of the Air Force, which is based at Maxwell Air Force Base and provides professional military education, is another of the unconventional Alabama sonography schools; it also has a two-year sonography program. Virginia College is the only for-profit institution among the five.

Career Outlook for Sonography in Alabama
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sonographers in Alabama made $49,700 in 2011; this is much less than the national median of $65,200. Additionally, BLS reported a 7.1 percent unemployment rate for the state: a middling statistic. Although the BLS expects a 20 percent increase in the number of job opportunities for sonographers in Alabama between 2008 and 2018, that only translates to 30 new jobs.

The major employer of sonographers in Alabama is the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital (commonly abbreviated as UAB Hospital), which serves as the state’s major tertiary care center. Other employers include Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, Huntsville Hospital, Brookwood Medical Center and DCH Regional Medical Center.

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