Individuals with a degree in diagnostic medical sonography experience the challenge of helping patients as part of a career that’s more in demand every year. This article provides helpful information on how to become an ultrasound technician in Massachusetts.
Ultrasound Technician Requirements
To work as an ultrasound technician, you’re required to complete a training program from an accredited school. These programs are usually associate degree programs, although some students prefer to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The ultrasound curriculum include medical and sonography courses, lab classes and a supervised clinical internship. Students interested in this school look for schools that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are five CAAHEP-accredited schools in Massachusetts that offer this training. The programs in Massachusetts are associate degree programs and certificate programs; the certificate programs are for those who are already registered technologists and wish to advance their careers.
Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?
Ultrasound technicians programs do not have any prior education requirements other than prerequisite courses. Additionally, students must meet program-related admission requirements, to be determined by each school.
Are Ultrasound Technicians Required to be Certified?
Ultrasound technicians in Massachusetts are not required by law to be certified, but most employers prefer certification, and most ultrasound technicians obtain voluntary certification to boost their employment opportunities.
How Can an Ultrasound Technician Become Certified?
There are a few different paths you can take to become certified or registered as an ultrasound technician in Massachusetts. To obtain certification, you must pass a certification exam. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers a certification that is valid for ten years and results in the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer credential. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers a two-year certification that results in a Registered Technologist credential. The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers a three-year certification and offers the opportunities to earn both the certified and registered credential. Certification exams are offered in various specialized areas of sonography.
Is Continuing Education Required?
Continuing education (CE) is not required to be an ultrasound technician, but it is required to maintain your certification. The amount of CE required depends on where you got your certification. ARDMA requires you to complete 30 hours of CE during the final three years of the certification period. The ARRT requires 24 hours and the CCI requires 36 hours. If you’re certified in a special area of sonography, such as vascular sonography or gynecological sonography, some of the CE credits must be in that area of sonography.
Low/Medium/High Salary for Ultrasound Technicians in Massachusetts
Ultrasound technicians working in Massachusetts typically earn salaries higher than the national average of $66,410, as of a 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. In Massachusetts, diagnostic medical sonographers in the lower 10% earned about $56,400, while those in 90% group earned $100,700. The median annual wage for 2012 was $79,900. Although experience, level of training and certification all are factors affecting the wages, location also plays a big part. For instance, the median annual wage for diagnostic medical sonographers working in the Boston area was about $80,700 in 2012.
What Job Duties Can an Ultrasound Technician Perform in Massachusetts?
As an ultrasound technician in Massachusetts, your job duties may include documenting patient medical stats, preparing patients for the imaging procedure, answering questions about the procedure, preparing the imaging equipment and performing the ultrasound procedures. Once the procedure is done, you’ll look at the results and determine if enough images have been taken or if you need more.
You’ll prepare a summary for the physician, complete with your findings. Although your training has prepared you to know the difference between a normal and abnormal reading, you will leave telling the patient about the results to the physician.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Massachusetts?
Students in a sonography associate degree program can be finished in two years, while the certificate programs often take one year to 18 months to complete.