There are many names for the person who does ultrasounds. We are called sonographers, ultrasonographers or ultrasound technologists. We work under the supervision of a radiologist, who interperts the images we get.
We do much more than OB ultrasounds. Ultrasound can be used to visualize many other body parts. A sonographer does carotid, thyroid, b****t, abdominal (aorta, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, kidney, spleen, urinary bladder), pelvic (uterus and ovaries), testicular and large vessels of the arms and legs. We assist the radiologist during biopsies (liver, b****t, thyroid), amniocentesis and paracentesis.
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists just did a large salary survey. For example, in California, the average yearly pay for a sonographer was $87,485. In Alabama, it is $58,998. You can view this survey, and see what the pay is in your state, here:
If you are interested in a career in ultrasound, try to do an observation in both a hospital imaging department and a free standing imaging center. That would give you a good idea of what a sonographer does. It certainly is more than looking at babies!
For a list of accredited ultrasound schools, in your state, you can search the following site for "diagnostic medical sonographer" and your state at this site:
When thinking about entering an ultrasound program, you need not be concerned so much about certificate vs. degree. What is important is that you go to an ACCREDITED program, whether it is college or hospital based. An accredited program allows you to take your registry (licensing) exams upon graduation. Once you get licensed, you will never be asked about your schooling again. An employer does not care what route you take to get licensed, they just want you to have that license.
Don't waste your time or money on a NON-accredited program. Upon completion and graduation from a NON-accredited program, you must work in the field of sonography for a full year prior to taking your licensing examinations. But, you will have a hard time finding an employer to hire you, unless you are licensed. Best wishes to you!