What Does an Ultrasound Tech Do?

Wondering what an ultrasound tech does? Here’s everything you need to know about this important medical profession.

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Job Description

An ultrasound tech is a professional who uses ultrasound technology to create images of the human body for diagnostic purposes. ultrasound techs typically work in hospitals or clinics, and they may also be employed by private companies that provide diagnostic services.

Duties of an ultrasound tech

As an ultrasound technician, or sonographer, you’ll use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs, blood vessels and fetuses. Your work will be vital to diagnosis and treatment.

Ultrasound technicians typically do the following:
-Explain procedures to patients and answer their questions
-Prepare examination rooms and ensure that all necessary equipment is sterilized and ready for use
-Position patients on examination tables
-Apply warm gel to patients’ skin to reduce friction during procedures
-Operate diagnostic equipment to produce images or conduct ultrasounds
-Observe images on monitors and adjust settings as needed to obtain the best view of the area being examined
-Record basic patient information, chief complaints and results of examinations
-Maintain clinical records of examinations

Education and Certification

Ultrasound techs must have at least an Associate’s degree from an accredited school, although most jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree. Specific courses and certifications are also required. In order to become certified, ultrasound techs must pass an exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

What you need to get started

You need to have postsecondary education to work as an ultrasound technician. Most employers prefer to hire those who have completed a certificate or associate degree program in diagnostic medical sonography.

There are about 150 accredited diagnostic medical sonography programs in the united states Many of these are two-year associate degree programs, but there are also one-year certificate programs and four-year bachelor’s degree programs. Some community colleges offer one-year certificate programs, while a few hospitals offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

To be admitted to most training programs, you will need to have completed high school or equivalent courses, such as physics and math, and have earned a passing score on an entrance exam.

Once you have completed your education, you will need to obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To be eligible for the ARDMS exams, you must have completed an accredited educational program. Most diagnostic medical sonographers complete a one- or two-year program and then take the ARDMS exams.


The average salary for an Ultrasound Technician is $34.81 per hour. The pay range for an Ultrasound Technician varies greatly (by as much as $18.78 per hour), which indicates that there is a wide range of salaries for Ultrasound Technicians with different levels of experience.

How much you can expect to earn

In the United States, salaries for ultrasound technicians vary depending on experience, geographical location and employer. The median annual salary for an ultrasound technician was $71,410 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,880 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,100 that year.

Job Outlook

Ultrasound technologists, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images or conduct scans of patients. The images and data are then used by physicians to make a diagnosis. Many diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in a particular area of ultrasound, such as abdominal, breast, neurological, cardiac, or vascular ultrasound.

The future of ultrasound technology

There is a bright future for ultrasound technicians, as the demand for their services is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This is due to the many advantages that ultrasound technology offers over other diagnostic imaging modalities, such as X-rays and CT scans. Ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that does not use ionizing radiation, making it much safer for patients. It also provides real-time images of the body, which can be used to guide interventional procedures.

As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing need for diagnostic imaging studies to detect diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The aging Baby Boomer generation will also fuel demand for preventive health screenings, such as ultrasound scans of the abdominal aorta to check for aneurysms. In addition, as more women choose to have children later in life, there will be a greater need for obstetric ultrasounds during pregnancy.

There are many opportunities for ultrasound technicians to find employment in hospitals, clinics, private practices and other healthcare settings. There is also a growing demand for mobile ultrasound services, as more patients are choosing to receive care in their own homes or at convenient locations outside of traditional medical facilities.

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