If you’re thinking about a career in diagnostic medical sonography, also called ultrasound, you may be wondering what the job entails and how to become a sonographer tech.
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Becoming a sonographer requires completing an accredited educational program and passing a credentialing exam. Sonographers are in high demand, and job prospects are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers will grow 26 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
What is a sonographer tech?
A sonographer tech, also called an ultrasound tech is a professional who uses medical imaging technology to produce diagnostic images of the human body. This specialization in the medical field requires both formal training and certification.
ultrasound technicians, work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and physician’s offices. They may be employed by a single organization or they may travel to different locations to provide their services. Most ultrasound techs work full time, although some may work part time or on an as-needed basis.
The work of an ultrasound tech can be both challenging and rewarding. ultrasound techs must have excellent patient care skills and be able to maintain a high level of professionalism at all times. They must be able to remain calm in stressful situations and have the ability to think critically and make quick decisions.
The steps to becoming a sonographer tech
A sonographer tech, also known as an ultrasound technician, is a medical professional who uses special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs and blood vessels. Sonographers often work in collaboration with doctors to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Becoming a sonographer tech requires completing an accredited educational program and passing a certification exam. Some states also require licensure. Keep reading to learn more about how to become a sonographer tech.
Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or Higher
All potential sonographer techs must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent before they can enter the workforce or an accredited educational program. Students who are interested in this career can take advantage of their high school’s career and technical education programs to learn more about the field and potentially get a head start on their postsecondary education.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Educational Program
All sonographer techs must complete an accredited certificate, diploma, or degree program before they can enter the workforce or seek certification. These programs typically take two years or less to complete, although some associate’s degree programs may take up to four years. During their studies, students will take classes in human anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, and patient care. They will also complete clinical rotations, which provide them with hands-on experience working with patients and using ultrasound equipment.
Step 3: Pass a Certification Exam
After completing an accredited educational program, sonographer techs must pass a certification exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or another accredited organization before they can begin working in the field. Certification exams typically consist of two parts: a written exam and a skills assessment. The written exam tests students’ knowledge of medical ethics, patient care, and relevant laws and regulations. The skills assessment requires students to demonstrate their proficiency in using ultrasound equipment by completing certain tasks under the supervision of a certified sonographer tech.
Step 4: Meet State Licensing Requirements (if applicable)
While licensure is not currently required in all states, some states do have licensing requirements for sonographer techs. In these states, individuals must usually complete an approved educational program and pass a state-administered exam before they can be licensed to practice in the state. Additionally, licensed sonographer techs are typically required to renew their licenses periodically by completing continuing education credits or passing another state-administered exam
The sonographer tech job outlook
The demand for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The aging Baby Boomer population is increasingly in need of diagnostic procedures, such as ultrasound imaging, that can be performed on an outpatient basis. Newborns also require ultrasound examinations shortly after birth to assess their health. In addition, as technology improves, diagnostic medical sonographers will be able to provide a greater number of procedures and may work in new settings, such as mobile units that go to patients’ homes.
In order to become a sonographer, you will need to complete an accredited training program and earn a certificate or associates degree. Once you have completed your training, you will be required to pass a state licensure exam. Some states also require sonographers to be registered with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).