Process Of Becoming An Ultrasound Technician

Process Of Becoming An Ultrasound Technician, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you will typically need to complete the following steps. The role of ultrasound technicians in hospitals can include performing a variety of scans and assisting radiologists with diagnosis and treatment.

Process Of Becoming An Ultrasound Technician

Obtain a high school diploma or GED: Most ultrasound programs require a high school diploma or GED.

Complete an accredited ultrasound education program:

For accreditation in diagnostic medical sonography, you must complete a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). 

A diagnostic medical sonography program typically takes two years to complete and leads to an associate’s degree or certificate.

Obtain certification: 

After completing an accredited program, it is necessary to pass an exam to become certified as an ultrasound technician. 

The American Registry for Diagn Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) are the two main certification bodies for ultrasound technicians.

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Get a job and maintain certifications: 

You are expected that once you are certified and obtain a job, you will obtain continuing education credits to maintain your certifications.

Furthermore, some places may have different or additional requirements, and you may also need some clinical experience before taking the certification exam.

If you are seeking a specific certification, check out the requirements for your State or country and the certification’s specific requirements.

Gain experience: 

Through clinical rotations, you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as you complete your ultrasound education program. 

After graduation, you can further build your skills and knowledge by working in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers.

Ultrasound technicians may specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, abdominal sonography, breast sonography, cardiovascular sonography, and other areas. Specialization may require additional education and certification.

Keeping Up with Technology: 

The field of sonography is continuously advancing and evolving, so ultrasound technicians need to stay current with new technologies and techniques. 

You can stay current with the latest developments through continuing education courses and professional development workshops.

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Networking: 

You can learn about job openings, stay up to date with industry developments, and gain insight into best practices by networking with other professionals in your field. 

It can be beneficial in this regard to join professional organizations, such as SDMS (the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography).

To work in the ultrasound technician field, you must complete certain prerequisites (such as an accredited program) and obtain professional certifications. 

Depending on the certifying body, some states have laws about ultrasound technician certification renewal.

Qualifications

High school diploma or GED: 

Most ultrasound programs require a high school diploma or GED as a prerequisite for enrollment.

Accreditation: 

Completion of an ultrasound education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).

Certification: 

Diagnostic medical sonographers must pass an exam from an organization that certifies them, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Clinical experience: 

A certain amount of clinical experience may be required before taking a certification exam in some places.

Continuing education: 

Maintaining certifications typically requires continuing education.

Make sure to check the specific requirements in your area before beginning your education. Different countries or states may have different standards or regulations.

Salary:

Ultrasound technicians’ salaries vary depending on various factors, including their location, experience, and specialization.

The median annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers in the United States was $73,860 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In the highest-paying industries for diagnostic medical sonographers, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,840.

The federal government, excluding the postal service

Services related to scientific research and development

Hospitals with specialized services (other than psychiatric and substance abuse services)

Laboratories for medical diagnosis and treatment

Centers for outpatient treatment

In addition to the location, ultrasound technicians are also paid based on their skills. 

California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania have the highest employment levels and wages for sonographers. 

The wages in metropolitan areas are also generally higher than those in rural areas.

Ultrasound technicians’ salaries depend on several factors, including their level of experience, area of specialization, and employer.

Courses:

Some several colleges and universities offer diagnostic medical sonography degree programs, such as:

Students enrolled in a diagnostic medical sonography bachelor’s degree receive a comprehensive education in sonography, including anatomy, physics, patient care, and image evaluation.

An associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography focuses on developing the skills and knowledge necessary to become a diagnostic medical sonographer.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate Program: A one- or two-year course covering anatomy, physics, patient care, and image analysis.

Moreover, many universities and colleges offer diagnostic medical sonography programs online or in a hybrid format in addition to on-campus programs, which can be an alternative for those who are more flexible or don’t have access to local programs.

To become a diagnostic medical sonographer, make sure the Commission accredits your program on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagn Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). 

As a result of accreditation, programs meet the educational standard. They can offer graduates the opportunity to sit for certification exams such as those offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry for Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

List of universities

Several universities and colleges offer degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography in the United States.

Here is a partial list of some of them:

  • The University of Southern California
  • Ohio State University
  • The University of North Texas
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • The University of Utah
  • The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • The University of Iowa
  • The University of Kansas
  • Indiana University
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The names and availability of programs in diagnostic medical sonography may vary from State to State, so please note that this list may only include some universities and colleges that offer programs in diagnostic medical sonography. 

If your local university or community college offers a diagnostic medical sonography program, check their websites or the websites of the CAAHEP or JRC-DMS for a more comprehensive list.

Jobs:

Diagnostic medical sonographers, also known as ultrasound technicians, can work in several different healthcare settings, such as:

Hospitals: 

The role of ultrasound technicians in hospitals can include performing a variety of scans and assisting radiologists with diagnosis and treatment.

Imaging centers: 

Sonographers are also employed in imaging centers and clinics, where they perform a variety of scans, including obstetrics and gynecology scans, abdominal scans, and small-part scans.

Physicians’ offices: 

In private physician offices, ultrasound technicians perform ultrasound-guided procedures in addition to scanning for obstetrics and gynecology.

Laboratories: 

In addition to performing scans, ultrasound technicians may assist in research studies in medical and diagnostic laboratories.

Government/Military: 

It is also possible to work for the government as an ultrasound technician in Veterans Affairs hospitals or military settings.

Mobile Ultrasound service: 

Ultrasound technicians may also work with mobile services, visiting nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and prisons to perform scans on patients who cannot travel.

Ultrasound technicians’ job duties and responsibilities vary from employer to employer, location to location, and area of specialization. 

Still, they prepare patients for scans, operate ultrasound equipment, and communicate the results to radiologists and other healthcare professionals.