Diagnostic ultrasound technicians or ultrasonographers, as they are better known, are medical professionals who use non-invasive, high frequency sound wave-producing equipment to take pictures of a patient’s internal organs in order to diagnose health problems. They work in hospitals and clinics or as consultants, researchers or educators. They can specialize in abdominal and obstetric and gynecological ultrasound, neurosonography, breast sonography, echocardiography or ophthalmology. If you want to learn how to become an ultrasonographer, you will find the tips below of great help:
- Be familiar with the tasks of an ultrasonographer. Ultrasonographers stand are on their feet most of the time. Aside form knowing how to perform ultrasound procedures and maintain the equipment, they are on call to work with patients and explain the procedures, assist doctors and other medical professionals, process patients’ diagnostic info and histories and maintain their records.
- Make sure you have a strong background in physics and the sciences. If you will be taking licensure examinations, better be prepared for the dreaded separate physics exams where they say 50 percent of examinees fail. Ultrasonography involves a lot of physics, that’s why it is not exactly one of the most sought after fields in medicine.
- Know that there are various specializations in the field, and they are Cardiac Sonography, Vascular Sonography and General Sonography—the first twi areas being the most difficult and better paying ones. Decide on which area you would like to specialize in. Better yet, specialize on several. Pay grade depends on specialization, experience, accreditation by competitive examination and continuous education.
- Get the right education for the job. Although those who are interested in becoming ultrasonographers can get training in hospitals, colleges, vocational institutions and even the military, or at least some work experience in an allied medical profession, a formal college education, coupled with training is a definite plus for employment purposes. A two-year associate program or four-year bachelor’s degree in an accredited college program (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or CAAHEP accredits them) in a reputable college or university is required for those taking licensure examinations. Although there are good non-accredited colleges out there, why take the risk?
- Get a license, even if it’s not required because there is a growing trend among healthcare facilities to make this a mandatory requirement. You can obtain this from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or ARDMS. To qualify for registration, one must have at least an associate degree and must undergo and pass an examination for sonography basics and specialties (namely for Breast, OBGyn, Abdomen, Neuro,Vascular, Adult and Pediatric Hearts). On top of this, members have to be familiar with the latest technologies in the field through 30 hours of continuing education, which must be fulfilled every 3 years to remain registered. You can also get credentials from CCI and ARRT. The qualifying examinations are difficult.
Actually becoming an ultrasonographer is no easy task for mere mortals who barely made it through high school physics class. Good thing, learning how to become an ultrasonographer is not as difficult.