I’m often asked how one goes about becoming an ultrasound technician It’s a great profession for those who are interested in the medical field
and have a knack for working with technology. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to become an ultrasound technician.
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What is an Ultrasound Technician?
An ultrasound technician is a medical professional who uses diagnostic imaging to aid physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions. Ultrasound technicians typically complete a two-year associate’s degree program in diagnostic medical sonography. Some states also require ultrasound technicians to be licensed.
What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?
An ultrasound technician, also referred to as a diagnostic medical sonographer is a professional who provides diagnostic patient care services using ultrasound and related diagnostic procedures. The images and data collected are used by physicians to make informed decisions about the patient’s treatment.
Ultrasound technicians work in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities. They may be responsible for performing ultrasounds on patients of all ages for a variety of reasons. For example, an ultrasound may be ordered to help diagnose a suspicious mass, such as a tumor. It can also be used to check a baby’s development in pregnant women or to examine damage after an injury.
To perform an ultrasound, the technician will first apply gel to the patient’s skin. This helps the transducer (a hand-held device that emits sound waves) move smoothly over the skin. The transducer is then placed on the patient’s body part that is being examined and moved around until the desired images are captured. The gel is then wiped off and the procedure is complete.
Some ultrasound technicians may also be responsible for performing other diagnostic imaging procedures, such as x-rays or MRIs. In addition, they may provide patient education and support before and after procedures.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become an Ultrasound Technician?
Most ultrasound technicians have an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography or a related health care field.
There are also certification programs that take about one year to complete. You can get certified by going through an accredited program and passing an exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Some employers may prefer applicants who have certification, but it is not always required.
In order to become certified, you must have completed an accredited training program and pass an exam administered by the ARDMS.
How to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Many people are interested in becoming an ultrasound technician but are not sure where to start. The first step is to research the different schools that offer this program. Once you have narrowed down your choices, you will need to take some prerequisite courses. After you have completed the necessary coursework, you will then be able to apply to ultrasound technician programs
Complete an accredited program
There are many ways to become an ultrasound technician, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited program. There are more than 300 diagnostic medical sonography programs across the country that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
You can find a comprehensive list of accredited programs on the CAAHEP website. Once you’ve selected a program, you’ll need to complete an application and submit any required transcripts or coursework. Most programs take between two and four years to complete, and you’ll earn an associates degree or a certificate upon graduation.
There are no states that require licensure for ultrasound technicians, but many employers prefer to hire certified professionals. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers a credential called the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). To be eligible for this credential, applicants must have completed an accredited program andPass written and practical exams.
Complete continuing education credits
To maintain registration with ARDMS and keep your certification current, you will need to complete a certain number of CE credits every few years. The number of credits required and the time period for completing them will depend on the specialty in which you are certified. For example, those certified in abdominal sonography must complete 30 CE credits every three years, while those certified in breast sonography must complete 36 CE credits every three years.