The basic duty of an ultrasonographer is to create internal images of a patient’s body by using sound wave-utilizing equipment, such as ultrasound and sonogram machines, for diagnostic purposes. According to the latest data, an ultrasonographer earns an average annual salary of $60,000. This is one reason many are considering an ultrasonography career. If you are one of them, here’s what you should do to become an ultrasonographer.
- Get a sonography degree. A degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is needed for this career, although a two-year course is usually enough. Your subjects will focus on imaging principles, scanning protocols, advanced physics, pathology, and anatomy, among others. While schooling, you need to choose your specialization. You may want to choose OB-Gyne, ophthalmology, abdominal, vascular, echocardiology, or neurosonography. You have to remember, though, that your chosen specialization will have a defining effect on your career. So you have to be extra discerning when selecting a specialization.
- Be ARDMS certified. You can practice ultrasonography without having a certification from American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS); however, being an ARDMS certified will increase your employment possibilities since many health facilities require their applicants to have ARDMS certification. ARDMS particularly gives certifications to individuals who passed physics and instrumentation tests and specialty examinations.
- Develop the necessary skills. To be a competent ultrasonographer, you have to master the necessary skills. You should be apt at operating and maintaining the machines and equipment, know the exact scanning procedures, analyze the images accurately, and distinguish the images’ visual correctness. As an ultrasonographer, you may also find yourself in situations where you need to apply certain mathematical and scientific calculations to derive correct analysis; therefore, you need to be particularly good at math and science. Your interpersonal skills should also be extensively honed, as you will need to communicate your analysis to the doctor, work well with radiologists and other members of the radiology department, and explain the procedures to the patient precisely.
- Find a job. The radiology department of a hospital is your most probable destination, although you can also find work in medical laboratories, outpatient facilities, and universities. Because there is a projected growth in the employment opportunities for ultrasonographers, finding a job shouldn’t be difficult, especially if you have educational advantage and considerable experience.
- Continue learning. Since new medical machines are introduced almost regularly and procedures consequently change, you need to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Attend medical symposia and forums if you have a chance, or subscribe to medical journals and literatures. If you are ARDMS certified, you are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every three years. The thing is, medicine is an ever-evolving science, so you need to be up-to-date and relevant.
The job of an ultrasonographer, like any other job in the medical field, is quite demanding. Because it involves human health, there is a great need for accuracy, time management, team work, and wise judgment. The nature of the job shouldn’t dishearten you. In fact, it should challenge you to pursue excellence in every aspect of your work.