If you want to know how to become an ultrasound technician, spend a few minutes reading this article. But first, what is an ultrasound technician? An ultrasound tech creates images by scanning patients’ bodies with sound waves. These images are then used by doctors to assess and diagnose medical conditions or to monitor the health of a fetus in pregnant women. These technicians are also known as sonographers, and anyone aspiring to enter this field must hold a certificate or associate’s degree in sonography.
How to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Universities, community colleges and hospitals all offer ultrasound technician programs, which typically take 1-2 years to complete. Applicants are normally required to have taken courses in basic physics, algebra and natural sciences, prior to admission. The program’s coursework consists of learning about patient care, physics, medical ethics, physiology and anatomy. As it is vital that aspiring ultrasound techs enrol in an accredited school, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs website should be visited to find an accredited institution near you.
Technicians in this field help doctors to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical problems, and are often the first point of contact between a doctor and his patients, therefore, excellent communication skills are required. Anyone who wants to know how to become an ultrasound technician must be able to explain complicated medical procedures in an easy to understand manner to their patients. Due to advancements in the field of medicine occurring frequently, technicians must also be willing to maintain knowledge of these new advancements, which may include new procedures in diagnostic technology and medicine.
Specialties & Certification
Students are offered the opportunity to take a range of certification exams, set by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. While taking one of these exams is optional, it is recommended that technicians sit one. This is because technicians who have obtained certification have far greater opportunities for career advancement available to them than those who do not hold certification.
Some of the specialties that the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers, include: gynaecologic sonography obstetrics, neurosonology and abdominal ultrasound.
In order to become certified, ultrasound techs must pass two exams. One of these exams tests students on the areas of sonography principles and equipment and physics. The specialty exam tests students on the diseased or normal anatomy of the organs.
Job Outlook & Salary
Many people want to find out to how to become an ultrasound technician due to the high salary ultrasound techs can earn. It is for this reason that explains why there has been a surge in students enrolling in ultrasound technician programs in recent years. The average salary stands at approximately $65,200 a year, although this figure can vary depending on geographical location, the type of facility worked in and experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for ultrasound technicians are expected to grow by 18% up until 2018. This is primarily thanks to the increased need for diagnostic imaging for the aging population in the USA, and partly because health care providers are starting to prefer the use of ultrasound imaging, as it is considered to be a safer and more economical alternative to radiology.