Ultrasound technicians utilize medical imaging equipment to display interior body images by use of sound waves. Although many imaging techniques utilize X-ray waves, ultrasounds do not have any radiation and are considered to be much safe for the patients and technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most healthcare providers opt for ultrasound imaging methods if possible. To be consistent with the United States, licensure is not a requirement for working as an ultrasound technician.
Process of Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
Although there is a standard process for becoming an ultrasound technician, it will take time, hard work and dedication to achieve. The first step in the process is to search for and enroll in an accredited Connecticut university within the sonography program. Most ultrasound technicians complete a two-year associate degree. Part of the educational requirement will be clinical experience that is conducted at an actual Connecticut healthcare location.
Once the educational and clinical requirements are complete, it is important to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography specialization certification exam. Once complete and passed, you will receive a certificate and an ARDMS identity card within six weeks of passing notification. Once all educational, clinical and certifications are complete, it is time to search for a job. Many technicians attempt to find a job at the location in which they completed their clinical requirements.
Ultrasound Technician Educational Requirements
Degree in Sonography
The initial step to becoming an ultrasound technician is to achieve the required education which commonly consists of a two-year associates or four-year bachelor’s degree in the sonography field from an accredited institution. The curriculum consists of anatomy, medical terminology and extensive training on how to operate the sonography equipment as well as analyze sonographic images. Additionally, students in these programs receive clinical training and the majority of educational programs allow them to specialize in a specific area of the anatomy.
Those who are currently employed in the medical field and have previous degrees in specialized areas, such as nursing, can fast-track their education with a certificate program. Many schools offer these programs for those looking to move into the ultrasound technician position. Certificate programs commonly take one year but require coursework and clinical training. Since these students have extensive training in the medical field, they can skip most of the core classes to focus on the girth of the program. To potential employers, a post-graduate certificate is the equivalent of a degree in sonography since the same material is covered.
Becoming Certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)
To further advance their professional credentials, ultrasound technicians can acquire certification in a specialized area like abdominal or breast sonography. The majority of accredited programs provide professional certifications to those who pass an examination that is conducted by the ARDMS following their studies. Although certification is not required to begin work as an ultrasound technician, generally all employers prefer specialization through certification.
Ultrasound Technician Salary in Connecticut
Although salaries vary greatly across Connecticut based on location, size of practice or hospital, competitiveness and many more factors, the average salary is around $64,000 per year. The range consists of $30,000 per year at the low end and over six-figures at the high end. Technicians make the most money in professional schools followed by outpatient care centers then hospitals, physician offices and finally Medical and Diagnostic labs.
What tasks is an Ultrasound Technician legally allowed to perform
There are many tasks that can be legally performed by ultrasound technicians including:
- Analyzing ultrasound data
- Archiving generated ultrasound images into a computer database
- Ensuring the generated images from the equipment are clear for diagnosis
- Explaining the ultrasound process to patients
- Gathering the histories of patients
- Operating the ultrasound equipment
- Preparing patients for an ultrasound exam
- Summarizing the technical readings and forwarding them to the physician to diagnose
In order to successfully complete these daily tasks, it is critical that an ultrasound technician have excellent oral and written communication skills. They need to regularly interact with patients and staff on a regular basis and provide written summaries for the physician to make informed diagnoses. Also, ultrasound technicians must have strong interactive and social skills, especially when dealing with patients who have differing attitudes. All medical professionals must deal with patients and other healthcare staff in an amicable manner.