How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician?

Becoming an ultrasound technician usually takes around two years. However, the length of time it takes can vary depending on the type of program you choose and other factors.

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Introduction

In order to become an ultrasound technician, one must complete an accredited program in this field. There are many schools that offer ultrasound technician programs and the length of the program can vary from one school to the next. Most ultrasound technician programs can be completed in two years or less, although some schools may offer programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. Once you have completed an accredited ultrasound technician program, you will then need to obtain a state license in order to practice.

The Prerequisites

The first step in becoming an ultrasound technician is completing your high school education or obtaining a GED. You will then need to complete an accredited ultrasound technician program. Once you have completed the program, you will need to obtain certification from the ARDMS.

Health Care Experience

In order to become an ultrasound technician, you will need to have some prior experience in the medical field. This can include working as a nurse, a medical assistant, or even a phlebotomist. Having this experience will help you understand the basic concepts of healthcare, which will be essential as you move forward in your career. If you do not have any prior experience in the medical field, you may still be able to become an ultrasound technician, but it may take you longer to complete your training.

Completion of an accredited program

Most employers prefer to hire ultrasound technicians who have completed an accredited program in diagnostic medical sonography, which is also referred to as ultrasound technology These programs are typically 1-4 years in length and lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree, depending on the length of the program. Some employers may require that ultrasound technicians also have a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field.

The Training

It can take anywhere from 18 months to 4 years to become an ultrasound technician. The first step is completing a certification program, which can take 1-2 years. Then, you must pass a state exam and obtain a license. Finally, you may choose to pursue additional certification in a specialty area.

Classroom learning

In order to become an ultrasound technician, one must complete a two-year degree from an accredited community college or university. The type of degree required is typically an Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. There are also four-year universities that offer a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which would qualify the student to sit for the RDMS exam upon graduation. However, most employers prefer candidates who have graduated from a two-year program.

References:

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm

Clinical training

After completing their academic training, ultrasound technicians must complete a clinical training program. The length of these programs can vary, but most take between 12 and 24 weeks to complete. During their clinical training, ultrasound techs will work under the supervision of experienced professionals to learn how to perform ultrasounds and use diagnostic equipment. After completing their clinical training, ultrasound techs must pass a national certification exam before they can begin working independently.

The Certification

Ultrasound technicians are in high demand due to the aging population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers will grow 14 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Registered diagnostic medical sonographer

The Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) credential is the most common certification for diagnostic medical sonographers. To become an RDMS, you must first complete an accredited educational program and then pass an examination administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The ARDMS offers several different exams, each with its own eligibility requirements. Once you have passed an exam and met all other requirements, you will be awarded the RDMS credential.

The process of becoming an RDMS can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on your educational background and work experience. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you may be able to complete an accredited diagnostic medical sonography program in as little as 12 months. However, if you need to complete prerequisite coursework before starting your program, the process may take longer. Once you have completed your educational requirements, it usually takes another one or two months to study for and pass the ARDMS exam.

After becoming an RDMS, you may choose to pursue additional credentials or specialize in a particular area of sonography. Although not required, many sonographers elect to become certified in multiple specialties or subspecialties. The ARDMS offers numerous subspecialty exams, each with its own eligibility requirements. Once you have passed an exam and met all other requirements, you will be awarded the corresponding subspecialty credential.

The process of becoming an RDMS and obtaining multiple subspecialty credentials can take several years to complete. However, the effort is often worth it because it can lead to increased job opportunities and higher earnings potential

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography

If you’re planning on becoming an ultrasound technician, you might be wondering how long the certification process takes. The answer depends on which organization you go through to get certified.

One of the most popular organizations is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To become certified through the ARDMS, you’ll need to pass two exams. The first exam, called the Sonographic Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) Exam, tests your knowledge of basic ultrasound physics and instrumentation. The second exam, called the Abdomen Specialty Exam, tests your specific knowledge of abdominal anatomy and sonographic scanning techniques.

You can take the SPI Exam and the Abdomen Specialty Exam at the same time or separately – it’s up to you. If you take them at the same time, you’ll need to pass both exams within a 12-month period in order to receive certification. If you take them separately, there is no time limit – as long as you pass both exams within 10 years of each other, you’ll receive certification.

Once you pass both exams, you’ll need to submit an application for certification and pay a fee of $200 USD. The ARDMS will then issue your certification, which is valid for 10 years.

So, in total, the process of becoming certified through the ARDMS should take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on how quickly you want to move through the process and whether or not you take the SPI and Abdomen exams at the same time.

The Job Outlook

Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population is expected to continue to drive demand for diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound services. As the population grows older, there is an increasing need for diagnostic imaging to screen for various conditions and diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

Conclusion

So, how long does it take to become an ultrasound technician? The simple answer is that it takes about two years to complete a certified training program and earn an associate’s degree. However, the path to becoming an ultrasound tech is not always so simple. Some students may need to complete prerequisite coursework before enrolling in a training program, and some programs may offer accelerated options for students who already have some college experience.

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