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1) Training

Medical ultrasound is usually taught at postgraduate level in the UK with many sonographers having come from a healthcare background such as radiography or midwifery.

Most ultrasound courses in the UK are accredited by the Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education (CASE) and lead to a postgraduate certificate (PgC) or diploma (PgD) lasting between 12 and 18 months. Courses may offer day release or block release patterns of study depending on the individual institution. There are approximately 17 universities or colleges offering CASE accredited 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 clinical ultrasound practice.

CASE also  accredit shorter, focused courses that allow, for example, a midwife to train specifically in third trimester growth scans 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.

A BSc (undergraduate) course in medical ultrasound has recently been developed by Birmingham City University. Application is via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). There are also proposals to develop an apprenticeship route into medical ultrasound. If also accredited by CASE such courses will be listed in the CASE directory which is available from the above address.

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, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Ultrasound Society. These do not usually carry any formal qualification or award, although they may contribute to an individual’s continuing professional development. Details can be found on the various websites of the organisations concerned.

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’ (3rd edition, 2017) which is available from their website at:

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


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