If you’re looking for a career in the medical field with good job security and decent pay, becoming an ultrasound technician is a great option. Here’s everything you need to know about how to become an ultrasound technician.
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Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs, including the heart and blood vessels. They work closely with doctors and other medical professionals to provide information that can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions.
If you’re interested in becoming an ultrasound technician, there are a few things you should know. First, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program. While there are no specific educational requirements to enter this field, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have received formal training from an accredited institution. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll need to obtain certification from a professional organization, such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). After you’ve met all of these requirements, you’ll be ready to start your career as an ultrasound technician!
What is an Ultrasound Technician?
Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, are trained to use special equipment that bouncing sound waves off internal organs to produce detailed images for physicians and surgeons to use in diagnosing and treating medical conditions. Most ultrasound technicians work in hospitals and clinics, although some may find employment in private offices or government agencies.
The Steps to Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to become an ultrasound technician:
1. Get a high school diploma or GED. You don’t need to have taken any specific classes in high school to be an ultrasound technician, but courses in health, biology, and math can be helpful. You’ll also need to have good reading comprehension and communication skills since you’ll be working with patients.
2. Enroll in an accredited ultrasound technician program. These programs typically last anywhere from one to four years and include both classroom and clinical components. You’ll take courses in anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, and patient care.
3. Become certified. While certification is not required in all states, it can give you a leg up when it comes to finding a job. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers a voluntary certification exam for those who have completed an accredited program.
4. Find a job. Once you have your certification, you can start searching for jobs as an ultrasound technician. Hospitals, clinics, and private practices all hire ultrasound technicians to perform diagnostic procedures on patients.
The different types of Ultrasound Technician
In order to become an ultrasound technician, one must first understand the different types of ultrasound technician. There are two main types of technicians: diagnostic medical sonographers and vascular technologists. Although both types of technicians use ultrasound technology to create images of the human body, their job duties are quite different.
Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound technology to create images of the inside of the human body. They work closely with physicians to help diagnose and treat various medical conditions. Diagnostic medical sonographers typically specialize in a specific area of medicine, such as cardiology or obstetrics/gynecology.
Vascular technologists use ultrasound technology to create images of the blood vessels. They work closely with vascular surgeons to help diagnose and treat various vascular conditions. Vascular technologists typically specialize in a specific area of vascular medicine, such as intervention radiology or peripheral vascular surgery.
The Work Environment of an Ultrasound Technician
Ultrasound technicians work in a variety of medical settings. The vast majority (78%) are employed in hospitals, while the rest are split pretty evenly between physicians’ offices, imaging centers, and other healthcare facilities. Hospitals tend to be the most stressful work environment for ultrasound techs as they are often understaffed and required to handle a high volume of patients. In contrast, imaging centers and physicians’ offices tend to be less hectic and provide a more relaxed atmosphere.
The Salary of an Ultrasound Technician
An ultrasound technician is a medical professional who uses specialized equipment to create images of the inside of the human body. ultrasound techs are also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, or DMSes. They typically work in hospital settings, although some may find positions in private practices or clinics. Although the job market for ultrasound techs is expected to grow in the coming years, competition for jobs will be strong. Those who wish to become ultrasound techs should consider completing a formal training program in diagnostic medical sonography.
Ultrasound technicians typically earn salaries that are comparable to those of other medical professionals. The median annual salary for an ultrasound technician was $64,380 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,820, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,970. The median hourly wage was $30.93.
The Future of Ultrasound Technician
The field of diagnostic imaging and sonography is constantly evolving. As new technology is developed and refined, it opens up new possibilities for ultrasound technicians to provide better patient care. Here are some of the exciting changes that are on the horizon for this rewarding career:
1. 3D and 4D Imaging: Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound imaging has been around for a few years, but the technology is constantly improving. Newer machines can now create 4D images, which are essentially moving 3D images. This allows sonographers to get a better look at the blood flow in arteries and veins, as well as the movement of internal organs. 4D imaging is particularly useful in diagnosing congenital heart defects in unborn babies.
2. Elastography: Elastography is a new technique that uses sound waves to measure the stiffness of tissue. This information can be used to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors, as well as to assess the severity of liver disease.
3. Mnemonic Devices: Memory training devices such as mnemonic aids are becoming increasingly popular in all medical fields, and ultrasound techs are no exception. These aids help technicians remember critical steps in procedures, as well as image orientation and labeling standards.
4. Advanced Procedure Rooms: Many hospitals and clinics are now outfitting their procedure rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, including flat-screen monitors, computer-aided design (CAD) software, and even virtual reality (VR) headsets. This technology allows technicians to get a better view of the anatomy during procedures, as well as to better explain procedures to patients beforehand.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is being used in all medical fields to streamline processes and improve patient care. In ultrasound imaging, AI can be used to automatically detect abnormalities in images and alert the technician to potential problems. This technology is still in its early stages, but it has great potential to improve the accuracy of Diagnostic Imaging