Ultrasonographers, better known as ultrasound technicians, help doctors assess and sometimes even diagnose medical conditions. The ultrasound technician enjoys a truly interesting job. They take pictures produced through sound waves on special hospital equipment. The technology that is used directs high frequency sound waves through different parts of the body. An outline of the area is then videotaped or photographed so that the doctor can make a diagnosis. This highly sought-after position is growing faster than any other health care profession.
To become an ultrasound technician the student must:
Get training in the field. As a prospective ultrasound tech, you must first graduate from high school with a strong background in math and science. Then you will enter an ultrasound tech training program and take the required courses, which include: obstetric sonography, general physics, abdominal sonography, fetal and neonatal anomalies, vascular sonography, anatomy, and medical terminology. In addition, in a degree program students are trained using detailed methods of scanning for different purposes.
Students must decide if they want a certificate, a 2-year degree, or 4-year degree once finished with the program. Any program will give the student classes that teach the rudimentary skills necessary to work in the field, and there are many ways to get either training or a degree for this position. Training can take place in a hospital, a college/university, a vocational school, or through the military.
Courses are offered through most local colleges and universities. Private colleges and online universities also offer ultrasound technician training and at an accelerated pace. But they are much more expensive. You can obtain financial aid for classes through the federal government as well as private grants and scholarships. The financial aid counselor at the school of your choice can help you gain funding for an education.
The requirements. To gain a one-year certification as an ultrasound technician you must have experience in another allied health field such as an Optometrist, Dental Hygienist, or Athletic Trainer. Any certification and/or training in one of these areas qualifies you to obtain a one-year certificate in ultrasound technology.
- For a 2-year degree you should take classes in high school including algebra, trigonometry, science, physics, and allied health classes. You should also have a strong comprehension of the human anatomy. This knowledge is necessary for an ultrasound technology certification.
- To enter into a 4-year ultrasound technician program you must have earned a 2-year degree as an ultrasonographer. This will give you a more in-depth education in the field. You can also choose to take courses that will add a specialty to your degree. Specialties in the field of ultrasound technology include obstetrics and gynecology, abdominal sonograpghy, neurosonography, and breast sonography.
Get certified. Take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers' National Ultrasound Registry Examination. This is not required, but it is a plus to have the certification when looking for a job.
Get hired! Accept a job in a clinic, doctor's office, university, hospital, a laboratory, or other industries. Ultrasound technicians start out making around $30,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ultrasound technicians can expect to make over $62,000 per year.
What you will do. Ultrasound technicians are the ones in the room with the patient. An ultrasound tech can see what is going on with the patient on their monitor, but they cannot diagnose.
- The technician's job is to explain the procedure, take notes on the medical history of the patient, and use the equipment properly.
- They also choreograph patient movement to attain the best images.
- The ultrasound technicians are also required to log patient records, and they select the best picture for the doctor to assist in diagnosing the illness.
- An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) ultrasound technician helps the new mother get in position so that video can be captured of the fetal development. Those pictures are usually shared with the proud parents as baby's first picture.
The growing need for ultrasound technologists is predicted to increase until 2014. You can learn more about online ultrasound technician certification programs by clicking here. If you are interested in a hot new occupation, you should certainly consider pursuing ultrasound tech training for a promising career!