Your Path to Becoming a Ultrasound Technician

Required Courses
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Medical Ethics
  • Patient Care
  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Obstetric and Gynecology Ultrasound
  • Vascular Ultrasound
  • Physics and Instrumentation
  • Sectional Anatomy
  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy of the Heart
  • Ultrasound Physics

Ultrasound technicians use diagnostic imaging machines to help physicians diagnose illness and monitor fetus development in pregnant women. As an ultrasound technician you will use sonographs to create digital images. Sonographs use sound waves instead of radiation.

You will explain the procedure to the patient and review their medical history. You will then position the patient and process the image. The physician will make a diagnosis from the image.

To become an ultrasound technician, you must complete formal training. Employers prefer certified technicians. The medical industry is growing rapidly. There are great advancement opportunities and job stability in career as an ultrasound technician.

Step 1 Education

Programs vary in length. One-year certificates are available at many vocational schools. These programs are generally for those already employed in healthcare occupations looking to advance their careers. There are no accredited short-term programs.

Employers prefer those with associates or bachelors degrees. Enroll in a program that is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. These programs include both classroom and laboratory work.

Certification will enhance your employment opportunities. It is available after earning your degree. The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers certification exams. To remain certified, continued education is required.

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Step 2 Job Search

Hospitals employ the most ultrasound technicians. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for this job position to continue to grow faster than average.

Internships are often part of degree programs. As an intern you will gain hands on experience working with real patients and real challenges. You will work along side medical professionals and establish a network for future employment.

Another way to get your foot in the door is to volunteer. You could help out in a local hospital or clinic. You will learn what is expected of an ultrasound technician. Your increased skills and experience will give you an edge up on your competition.

With the medical technology advancements, employers are seeking those with knowledge and experience using the newest imaging machines. Continued education will help you stay current on the latest technology and developments.

Step 3 Career

You can specialize your career in echocardiography, abdominal sonography, vascular technologists, breast sonography, OBGYN sonography, or neurosonography. With these specializations you can work in physicians' offices and medical laboratories. Being trained in various procedures increases your marketability and advancement potential.

Your salary ranges between $52,570 and $73,680 annually according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those with advanced degrees and experience have higher earning potential.

Ultrasound technicians generally work forty hours a week in healthcare facilities. Overtime hours are sometimes required. You work in darkened rooms with diagnostic imaging machines. Your job may require you to position disabled patients and to be on your feet for long periods of time.