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How to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Michigan

Pursuing an occupation as an ultrasound technician is a favorable decision for many reasons. Not only is it a rewarding career, but the demand for this type of professional is constantly increasing, providing job security.

The information in this article is intended to give you an insight of Michigan’s specific requirements necessary to perform duties as a licensed ultrasound technician.

What Exactly is an Ultrasound Technician?
Also known as a sonographer, the ultrasound technician uses special equipment that examines and photographs the inner organs of the body. Unlike an x-ray, an ultrasound does not use radiation to capture the images. Instead, high-frequency sound waves are transmitted. Tissues and blood flow can also be viewed by the ultrasound device. The ability to capture these types of images enables medical professionals to determine the specific kind of medical treatment the individual needs.

Education Requirements
There are several collages and technical schools in Michigan that offer the courses needed to obtain proper certification and licensing in this field. Most prospective technicians choose to pursue an Associate’s degree or even further it to a Bachelor’s degree. An Associate’s degree can generally be completed in two years, where a Bachelor’s degree often takes four years of education. There are one year certification programs available, but opting to earn a degree will result in better employment opportunities with a more desirable salary. Achieving higher levels of education and training will also appear more attractive to potential employers.

The courses required are extensive and you will learn in detail about the human body as well as how to operate procedural ultrasound equipment. Typically, the courses you will need may include all or some of the following:

• Medical terminology
• Microbiology
• Computing skills
• Human anatomy
• Abdominal and obstetrical sonography
• Physiology of disease
• Professional ethics
• Supervised clinical practice
• Ultrasound physics
• Vascular technology

In addition to classroom studies, you will be asked to perform anywhere from 800-1500 hours of clinical practice. The hours required vary from school to school. This is when you will receive hands-on training at a variety of medical facilities. Accomplishing the clinical practices will provide you with a broader range of experience with a diversity of patients and situations.

Although comprehensive studies and clinical training are mandatory, it still does not quite qualify you to practice as a technician. You will need to be licensed through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). You will be asked to complete an exam that includes demonstrating your knowledge and skills of learned sonography techniques. Once you become licensed, you will need to complete continuing education to maintain a current license status.

What Tasks can an Ultrasound Technician Legally Perform in Michigan?
There are multiple career options for a licensed ultrasound technician. Your new career will come with many duties to perform. Depending on which specialty you decide upon will determine the tasks involved. Some of the specialties and their responsibilities include:

• Abdominal sonography – allows the technician to photograph organs such as the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, bile ducts, pancreas and spleen.
• Neurosonography – allows the technician to focus on images of the nervous system and the brain.
• Breast Sonography – the technician will work closely with the mammography team to capture images of breast tissue and tumors in the breast. This helps to detect breast cancer and growth stages of any tumor present.
• Musculoskeletal sonography – permits the technician to view the joints and muscles.

What is the Salary for an Ultrasound Technician in Michigan?
Salaries vary, but commonly range between $43,000 – $73,000 annually, depending on your location in Michigan and the extent of your education and training. Research shows that higher salaries are primarily found in the lower part of the state, while the northern region offers a lesser wage.

There are a lot of decisions to make and information to ponder when deciding on a career as an ultrasound technician. It is gratifying for anyone to be able to help others in the health care profession, and it may just be the right opportunity for you.