Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs.
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Generally, it takes about two years to complete an accredited ultrasound technician program and earn an Associate’s degree. Some schools offer certificate programs that can be completed in as little as one year, but these are typically non-accredited and may not lead to eligibility for professional certification.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician?
The short answer it takes about two years to become an ultrasound technician. But that’s the short answer There are a lot of factors that can affect how long it takes you to become an ultrasound tech including your previous education and experience, the program you choose, and whether you attend school full- or part-time.
If you’ve already got a degree in another medical field, like nursing, you might be able to get certified more quickly. Some programs also offer accelerated options that let you earn your degree in as little as 18 months. But if you’re starting from scratch, plan on spending at least two years in school.
It’s also worth noting that most ultrasound technician programs lead to an Associate’s degree. You can find some Bachelor’s degree programs out there, but they’re less common. And while you don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to work in the field, having one could give you a leg up when it comes to finding a job and advancing your career.
The different types of Ultrasound Technician Programs
There are many different types of ultrasound technician programs available, and the length of time it takes to complete a program can vary depending on the type of program you choose.
The most common type of ultrasound technician program is an Associate’s degree program, which takes about two years to complete. There are also Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree programs available, but these take longer to complete and are less common. In addition, there are certification programs available that can take anywhere from a few months to a year to complete.
The type of program you choose should be based on your career goals and the amount of time you have available to devote to your education. If you want to work as an ultrasound technician as soon as possible, an Associate’s degree program is the quickest route. However, if you’re looking to advance your career or specialize in a certain area, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree may be a better choice. Certification programs are also a good option for those who want to get started in their careers quickly but still want to receive formal training.
The Importance of Certification
While certification is not always required, it is strongly recommended. Certification demonstrates to potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job. Many employers require certification as a condition of employment. The most common certifying organization is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To earn ARDMS credentials, you must pass an exam in your specific area of specialization.
The Future of Ultrasound Technician Careers
There is no doubt that ultrasound technician careers are on the rise. In fact, the career is expected to grow much faster than average in the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of ultrasound technicians is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.