How to Become an ultrasound technician – A blog that covers the steps necessary to become an ultrasound technician, from completing an accredited education program to passing the ARDMS exams.
Checkout this video:
Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs and other structures. These images can be used by physicians to help diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Demand for ultrasound services is expected to grow as the population ages and as technology advances. The number of ultrasound technician jobs is expected to increase 22 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What is an Ultrasound Technician?
An ultrasound technician is a professional who uses diagnostic imaging to create sonograms, or images of internal body structures. This information is then used by physicians to make decisions about treatment and diagnoses. Ultrasound technicians typically work in hospitals or clinics, although some may find employment in research institutions or other settings.
An ultrasound technician, also called a diagnostic medical sonographer is a professional who uses special equipment to create images (sonograms) of various areas of the body. These images are then used by physicians to help diagnose and treat various medical conditions.
Ultrasound technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, and private offices. They may also be employed in research facilities or educational institutions. Most ultrasound technicians work full time, although some may work part time or on an as-needed basis.
The job duties of an ultrasound technician vary depending on their place of employment, but they typically include operating sonographic equipment, conducting ultrasounds, and providing patient care. They may also be responsible for maintaining equipment and keeping accurate records.
How much does an ultrasound technician make?
The median salary for an ultrasound technician was $72,510 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $97,740, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $54,180.
The median salary for an ultrasound technician in Canada is C$60,000 per year, or C$29 per hour. The top 10 percent of earners make more than C$79,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent make less than C$46,000 per year.
Education and Training
You can become an ultrasound technician, also called a diagnostic medical sonographer, with either an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in ultrasound technology Community colleges, technical institutes, and four-year colleges and universities offer programs in diagnostic medical sonography. A bachelor’s degree generally takes four years to complete, while an associate’s degree generally takes two years to complete.
Most programs include clinical experience in a hospital or outpatient facility, where you rotate through different departments such as obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN), abdominal, vascular, and breast sonography. Many schools offer an online searchable directory of accredited ultrasound technician programs
After completing your formal education, you will need to obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). To qualify for the exam, you must have completed an accredited training program and have at least one year of full-time clinical work experience.
How to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images or conduct tests. They often work in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, or physicians’ offices, and may specialize in abdominal, obstetric, or cardiovascular sonography. Learn more about what it takes to become an ultrasound technician.
Step 1: Research the Field of Ultrasound Technology
Make sure that becoming an ultrasound technician is the right fit for you by doing your research on the field of ultrasound technology. This involves understanding what the job entails on a day-to-day basis as well as the necessary steps to become credentialed in this field. Take some time to read articles, industry journals and books on the subject. You should also shadow an experienced ultrasound technician or even better, work as a tech assistant in order to get an inside look at what this occupation is really like.
Step 2: Obtain Your high school diploma or GED
While it is not required, most ultrasound programs prefer applicants who have completed high school or have obtained their GED. If you do not currently possess either one of these, take the necessary steps to obtain them before moving on to step three.
Step 3: Enroll in an Accredited Ultrasound Technician Program
There are many accredited schools across the country that offer certification and degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs typically last anywhere from 18 months to four years, depending on the level of education you are seeking. It is important that you make sure any program you enroll in is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or The Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).
Step 4: Complete Your Program and Take Your Exam
Once you have completed your accredited training program, you will be required to sit for a national exam in order to earn your credential as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). Although requirements vary by state, most states require passing this exam in order to obtain a license and work as an ultrasound technician.
Step 2: Complete an accredited program in diagnostic medical sonography
Once you have met the prerequisites for admission, you can apply to an accredited program in diagnostic medical sonography. There are over 300 programs across the country that have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Ultrasound technician programs typically take two years to complete and lead to an Associate’s degree. During your coursework, you will take classes in anatomy, physiology, algebra, and introduction to sonography. You will also complete clinical rotations in order to gain hands-on experience.
It is important that you choose a CAAHEP or JCAHO accredited program in order to be eligible for certification. Once you have completed your accredited program, you can then sit for the licensing examination in your state.
Step 3: Obtain voluntary certification
After you’ve completed a training program and have gained some work experience, you might want to think about obtaining voluntary certification. Although certification isn’t required in most states, it might make you more attractive to employers and could lead to career advancement. Two organizations that offer certification for ultrasound technicians are the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
Step 4: Consider completing a degree in a related field
If you are interested in working in the medical field but don’t necessarily want to become a doctor, there are many other options available. One potentially rewarding career is that of an ultrasound technician. Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs. These images are then used by doctors to diagnose and treat various medical conditions.
If you are thinking about becoming an ultrasound technician, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make it happen:
Step 1: Research the field
Before making any decisions, it’s important to do your research and make sure that this is the right career for you. Read up on what ultrasound technicians do on a daily basis, the job outlook for this field and what kind of skills and personality traits you need to be successful in this role.
Step 2: Complete an accredited program
Most employers will require that you have completed an accredited ultrasound technician program before they will hire you. These programs typically take two years to complete and can be found at many community colleges and technical schools. Be sure to check that your program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Step 3: Become licensed or certified
While licensure is not required in all states, it may be necessary depending on where you live and work. To become licensed, you will typically need to pass an exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Once you have passed this exam, you will need to renew your license every few years. You may also choose to become certified through the ARDMS or another organization such as the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certification is not required for employment but may help you advance in your career.
Step 4: Consider completing a degree in a related field
While most employers only require that you have completed an accredited ultrasound technician program, some may prefer or require that you have a degree in a related field such as radiology or health science. If you are thinking about pursuing a degree, be sure to check with potential employers first to see if this is a requirement for the positions you are interested in.
After completing the necessary education and training, ultrasound technicians can begin their careers in a variety of settings. They may work in hospitals, diagnostic centers, or private practices. Some ultrasound technicians choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics or cardiology. With experience, ultrasound technicians may become supervisors or managers. Those who wish to teach or conduct research may pursue careers in academia.