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1. Training

Medical ultrasound is currently taught at postgraduate level in the UK with many sonographers having come from a healthcare background such as radiography or midwifery. Most postgraduate qualificatory ultrasound courses in the UK are accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE) http://www.case-uk.org/ and lead to a postgraduate certificate (PGC) or diploma (PGD) lasting between 12 and 18 months. Courses may offer day release, block release, distance learning and other modes of delivery depending on the individual institution. There are approximately 16 universities or colleges offering postgraduate ultrasound courses in the UK. Entry requirements are usually a healthcare related first degree in radiography or midwifery or similar science or health related subject and confirmation of adequate access to supervised clinical ultrasound practice. 

At the time of publishing this third edition there is no primary degree (BSc Hons) in medical ultrasound available although it is possible that such a course may become available in the future. 

CASE also accredits shorter, focused courses that allow, for example, a midwife to train specifically in first trimester techniques or a nurse to train in ultrasound techniques applicable to work in an Early Pregnancy Unit. These courses must meet certain criteria and are developed by individual universities and colleges. 

For all ultrasound training, it is necessary to have a clinical placement approved by the university or college responsible for the student’s overall training. These can be difficult to find and are often specifically arranged by Trusts or Health Boards for existing employees who they wish to train. SCoR cannot help with obtaining clinical placements. The individual universities and colleges will help if they can but there is a general shortage of clinical placements and they often cannot be of direct assistance.

There are many short courses and study days in ultrasound that are run by professional bodies such as the SCoR, The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS).  These do not usually carry any formal qualification or award, although they may contribute to an individual’s continuing professional development (CPD). Details can be found on the various websites of the organisations concerned. 

The Society for Vascular Technology of Great Britain and Ireland has information relating to vascular ultrasound and their accreditation scheme at http://www.svtgbi.org.uk/education/

For those who are medically qualified and are eligible to register with the General Medical Council as a doctor with a licence to practise, the Royal College of Radiologists has published a document entitled ‘Ultrasound Training Recommendations for Medical and Surgical Specialties’  (2nd edition, 2012) which is available from the RCR website at: https://www.rcr.ac.uk/publications.aspx?PageID=310&PublicationID=385 1

There is no formal system by which qualifications obtained outside the UK can be compared to the UK's awards. A body exists (UK NARIC) that may be able to advise  with regards to the academic level but it cannot help with the clinical aspect of training http://www.naric.org.uk/

Student/trainee sonographer posts are occasionally advertised on the NHS jobs website https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/  Use search terms such as ‘sonographer’ and ‘ultrasonographer’ along with ‘trainee’ and ‘student’ as necessary.

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