Is any prior education or training required?
To become an ultrasound technician in Arkansas, it is necessary to attend a school that offers an Associate Degree in Sonography, unless you already have a degree in a healthcare related field. This gives you the chance to have a dynamic, exciting career in just two years. Most healthcare careers require at least four years of school and many will take much more than that. You may choose to get a four-year degree, but it is not necessary and the only difference it will make is the ability to move on to supervisory positions or become an instructor.
During your training, you will learn how to operate the different equipment used for performing ultrasounds on patients. The machines generate a high-frequency sound wave that passes through the skin and fat to bounce of organs and other tissue in the body. When used in a video manner n ultrasound can show the movements of an organ or the flowing of blood through the veins and arteries. It is the most common diagnostic tool used on pregnant women to keep track of a growing fetus as it does not emit radiation and will not harm the baby in any way.
The images and video created during an ultrasound provide doctors with a complete picture of what is going on inside the patient’s body. Doctors will send a request for certain images to be taken for analysis. Training in sonography will include not only learning to use the all the different equipment, but a study of human anatomy and medical terminology. It is also important that health laws concerning a patient’s right to privacy are completely understood by the sonographer.
The training to become an ultrasound technician in Arkansas will include classes to learn the theories and important knowledge needed to perform the job, but it will also include 60 hours of hands-on training. You will go to a clinic or hospital with your classmates and instructor where you will actually be performing ultrasounds. At first, you will only watch, but with each clinical session, you will become have more responsibilities, until you are able to perform the procedure on your own, with someone there to ensure you do everything correctly.
At the end of your training, you will be required to do an internship for an additional 60 hours. You will be doing ultrasounds on your own, but there will be someone there, in a different room, if you need help or have any questions. Once you complete the internship, your training will be complete and you can be awarded the degree.
Are ultrasound technician required to be certified?
While it is not a legal requirement to obtain certification as an ultrasound technician in Arkansas, most hospitals and clinics will only hire you after you have completed at least the initial certification exam offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Is continuing education necessary?
Once you pass this exam, you have five years to take the next exam and earn credentials in a specialized area of sonography, such as musculoskeletal or vascular sonography. Some technicians never take any of the specialized credentials, and are completely happy and secure in the job they have. It is up to you as to how many different credentials you test for and receive. The more you receive, the more job opportunities you will have.
Job outlook for ultrasound technicians in Arkansas
Whether you become a certified technician in a special field or remain a general sonographer, the job prospects for the next decade, at least, are only going to grow. It is an excellent way to get into a healthcare related career and affords you many opportunities for growing into other careers.