How to Become an Ultrasound Tech

Find out how to become an ultrasound tech and learn about the steps you need to take to enter this growing field.

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Introduction

If you want to become an ultrasound tech, you will need to complete a training program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). You will also need to pass a nationally recognized exam, such as the ARDMS SPI exam.

What is an Ultrasound Tech?

An ultrasound technician is a health care professional who uses diagnostic imaging to treat patients. ultrasound techs use sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body and are often used to diagnose problems with the heart, blood vessels, and other organs. ultrasound techs may also be known as ultrasound technologists or diagnostic medical sonographers.

Becoming an ultrasound tech requires completing an accredited ultrasound technician program. These programs typically take two years to complete and offer an associate’s degree or certificate. Some four-year colleges also offer bachelor’s degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography, which may lead to higher-paying positions.

After completing an accredited program, ultrasound techs must pass a national certification exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Some states also require licensure. Once certified and licensed, ultrasound techs can find employment in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, and other health care settings.

The Prerequisites

If you want to become an ultrasound tech, also called a diagnostic medical sonographer you will need to complete an accredited educational program and obtain professional certification. Most employers also require that ultrasound techs have at least two years of experience in the field before they will be hired.

The first step to becoming an ultrasound tech is to complete an accredited training program. These programs are typically offered at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level, although some certificate programs are available as well. You’ll take courses in medical ethics, human anatomy and physiology, physics, and mathematics, as well as specialized courses in diagnostic medical sonography. Many programs also include clinical rotations, which give you the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with patients.

Once you have completed your educational program, you will need to obtain certification from a professional organization such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To be eligible for certification, you must pass a written exam and a skills assessment. Once you are certified, you will need to renew your credential every two years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the certification exam.

In addition to certification, most employers also require that ultrasound techs have at least two years of experience working in the field before they will be hired. However, some entry-level positions may be available for those who have recently completed their education and training. To increase your chances of being hired, consider pursuing additional training or certification in a specialty area of sonography such as cardiovascular or abdominal sonography.

The Steps

To become an ultrasound tech, there are a few steps you need to take. First, you will need to earn your high school diploma or equivalent. Then, you will need to attend an accredited ultrasound technician program. After completing your training, you will then need to pass the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam to earn your certification. Once you have your certification, you will be able to find employment as an ultrasound tech.

The Certification

Aspiring ultrasound technicians can choose to earn a certificate, diploma or degree in diagnostic medical sonography, also known as ultrasound technology Although not required, certification may improve job prospects. The National Board of Echocardiography (NBE) and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offer voluntary certification exams. To be eligible to sit for either of these exams, candidates must have completed an accredited educational program and met other requirements set forth by each organization.

The Job Outlook

The job outlook for ultrasound techs is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing use of ultrasounds will result in greater demand for diagnostic medical sonographers in physicians’ offices, clinics, and healthcare facilities such as hospitals.

There is a growing demand for ultrasound services as a noninvasive alternative to X-rays and other imaging modalities. In addition, the aging population is more susceptible to a variety of health conditions that require the use of ultrasound for diagnosis, such as abdominal aortic aneurysms and breast cancer.

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