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How to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Illinois

If you’re interested in a healthcare position where you can help others and experience good employment growth, why not check into what it takes to become an ultrasound technician (diagnostic medical sonographers) in Illinois.

Ultrasound Technician Requirements

To become an ultrasound technician, you need to complete a diagnostic medical sonography program at an accredited school. These programs may be associate or bachelor degree program; associate degree programs are the most common. The curriculum includes lectures, lab studies and clinical rotations in a medical facility. The clinical portion, which involves hands-on training in various areas of sonography, is not only a requirement for graduation but also for certification. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than a dozen diagnostic medical sonographers schools in Illinois.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Becoming an ultrasound technician does not require prior education, other than the prerequisite courses that may be required prior to admission. However, individuals who are completing sonography certificate programs usually already have degrees in a healthcare program, such as radiography.

Are Ultrasound Technicians Required to be Certified?

Ultrasound technicians in Illinois are not required to be licensed or certified. However, certification is often required by the employer. Individuals who have certification typically find better employment opportunities and a higher wage potential.

How Can an Ultrasound Technician Become Certified?

Once you’ve completed your training, all you’ll need to do to obtain certification is pass a certification exam. Several organizations offer certification for diagnostic medical sonographers. The most common are the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). You can choose to earn the Certified Ultrasound Technician or the Registered Ultrasound Technician, depending on the organization. Additionally, ultrasound technicians can also obtain certification in various areas of sonography.

Is Continuing Education Required?

While continuing education is not required to be an ultrasound technician, it is required to maintain your certification. The amount and frequency of the continuing education needed depends on the organization in which you’re certified because each one is different. The ARDMS certification is valid for ten years and requires 30 hours of CE, and the 30 hours must be completed the last three years of the ten-year certification period. CCI certification requires 36 hours of CE and expires every three years. Of the 36 hours, 16 must be in your area of specialization. ARRT certification – good for two years – requires completing 24 hours of continuing education.

Low/Medium/High Salary for Ultrasound Technicians in Illinois

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that diagnostic medical sonographers in Illinois earned a mean annual wage of $67,400 as of May 2012 – a figure slightly higher than the $66,360 that was the national average for that year. Wages vary throughout the state. According to an Indeed.com 2014 report, the lowest wages of $47.000 were earned by vascular sonographers in Illinois, while the highest wages of $100,000 were earned by registered vascular sonographers and Gynecological Sonographers. Cardiac sonographers earned about $78,000. Location, experience and training play a role in wages.

What Job Duties Can an Ultrasound Technician Perform in Illinois?

Ultrasound technicians perform imaging procedures using high frequency sound to help in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The technician will help calm the patient and answer any questions they may have regarding the procedure. Preparing the imaging equipment is also one of the tasks performed by the ultrasound technician. Once the procedure is done, the ultrasound technician can determine if it’s normal or abnormal and if it’s sufficient for the physician to give a diagnosis. The technician documents medical information on the patient and prepares a summary for the physician.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Illinois?

Ultrasound technician associate degree programs take about two years to complete and bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete. Individuals who are pursuing certificate programs often finish their programs in less than a year and a half.