How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Puja Lalwani May 13, 2019
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With the expanding field of medicine and technology, the demand for ultrasound technicians is also vastly growing.
The process of ultrasound or sonography utilizes sound waves to view images within a body. While an x-ray performs similar functions, it is not viable for women who are pregnant. Here, the option of ultrasound becomes more suitable.
However, the process is not carried out only on pregnant women, and may be used to produce images of certain internal organs to check for and diagnose various diseases by doctors.

Requirements

The job opportunities for ultrasound technicians are great, which is why deciding to become one is a wise choice. To become one, you will have to attain at least an associate's degree in ultrasound technology from a reputed college, preferably one that is recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
For greater opportunities, a bachelor's degree from a reputed university will be a good option. Before you go to college, ensure that you take courses in subjects like natural sciences, health and mathematics in high school. You may then move on to choose the degree you wish to pursue. You may also receive training to become a technician in an army hospital.
However, as mentioned earlier, a degree will provide you with greater opportunities. In the course, you will be taught subjects such as anatomy, chemistry, ultrasound technology, and physiology. Apart from these, methods of patient care, and medical ethics involved in conducting such procedures will be taught.
Some of you may already be professionals in healthcare, and may be practicing some medical jobs too. Individuals such as these, may pursue one year certificate course to explore opportunities in this arena.
During the course of your education, obtaining an internship is advisable, as it provides some kind of experience before you are available in the job market, and enhances your opportunities to avail of the many positions in this field.
These technicians may also specialize in fields such as Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography, Breast Sonography, Abdominal Sonography, Cardiovascular Sonography, and Neurosonography. Again, a specialization ensures better prospects with a higher pay.
Those who complete an accredited program in ultrasound technology have to attain a license from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Though this is not mandatory, some hospitals, clinics, and other settings usually do not hire unregistered candidates. Once you are registered and certified, you may begin practicing in this field.
The time period that decides how long it will take to become an ultrasound technician depends on many factors. For one, whether or not you are already a healthcare professional will matter.
Further, the type of program you choose for training will determine the duration. Finally, the registration process may vary based on the state you reside in. All in all, the process can take anywhere between 1-5 years.

Duties

It requires certain personal qualities such as excellent communication skills, as these professionals are a sort of medium of communication between a doctor and a patient. Carrying out the procedure, along with helping a doctor with the diagnosis comes under their purview.
Finally, keeping up-to-date with changing trends in this field and in the field of medicine is definitely a must. Having management skills will further aid those, who wish to do well.

Job Outlook

As per the details provided by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), in the year 2017, an ultrasound technician earned an average of US $60,070. However, the top professionals earned around US $97,460. While these are average figures, the salary depends on several other factors.
For instance, a technician that works in a hospital will earn more than the one who works in a private clinic. The figures may also vary by state and by experience. Those who are registered with the ARDMS will definitely have better opportunities. Similar is the case with those who have specialized in the various aforementioned fields.