Does joining the healthcare industry and working in a capacity that allows you hands-on patient contact and the opportunity to help others interest you? If so, you may find a career working as an ultrasound technician appeal to you? Read below and get the important facts.
Ultrasound Technician Requirements
Individuals interesting in working as ultrasound technicians (diagnostic medical sonographers) must successfully complete a formal training program at an accredited school. To prepare the student to work in this capacity and obtain national certification, the program must consist of three components: medical coursework, lab courses and clinical education. The clinical education is done in the way of rotations so the student gains hands-on training in various areas of sonography. Both Education News and the National Center for Education Statistics indicate that Nebraska only has around three schools that offer ultrasound technician training programs.
Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?
Students who enroll in diagnostic medical sonography associate degree programs are not required to complete any prior education other than prerequisite courses. However, students enrolling in certificate programs are usually those who are already working in healthcare jobs in fields such as radiation therapy, and these students generally are required to have degrees in their field. Ultrasound technician programs do have program-specific admission requirements, which vary by school, which must be completed prior to admission to the programs.
Are Ultrasound Technicians Required to be Certified?
Most employers want and often require their ultrasound technicians be certified, although it’s not required by law. Ultrasound sound technicians are also not required to be licensed in Nebraska. In fact, some insurance companies and Medicaid programs may not pay if procedures are not performed by certified technicians.
How Can an Ultrasound Technician Become Certified?
Certification can be obtained by passing a certification exam, which may be authorized by a certifying agency. The two most common agencies are the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Students may also obtain certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
To be eligible to take the certification exam, the candidate must have completed an accredited training program and may also be required to have some work experience, depending on the agency offering the certification. Candidates may choose to become certified and/or registered and may obtain certification in various areas of sonography, such as gynecological and obstetrical ultrasound, abdominal ultrasound, vascular technology, ultrasound physics, cardiac and echocardiography.
Is Continuing Education Required?
Initial certification is only valid for a designated number of years, depending on the certification. To maintain certification, the sonographers must complete continuing education credits. The ARDMS requires 30 hours of continuing education, while the CCI requires 36 hours and the ARRT requires 24 hours. Ultrasound technicians who are certified in specific areas of sonography are required to complete some of the continuing education in those areas. For instance, when completing the 36 required hours for CCI recertification, 16 of the hours must be in the specialized area. ARDMS certification is valid for ten years; CCI is valid for three years and ARRT is valid for two years.
Low/Medium/High Salary for Ultrasound Technicians in Nebraska
Salaries for ultrasound technicians in Nebraska vary according to the area, the years of experience, number and type of certifications and level of training. According to a 2014 Indeed.com salary report, the lowest salaries of $30,000 and $36,000 were earned by vascular sonographers and sonography technicians respectively, while the highest salaries were for registered vascular sonographers, who earned about $64,000. Echocardiography technologists in Nebraska earned an average wage of about $57,000 and cardiac sonographers earned about $50,000.
What Job Duties Can an Ultrasound Technician Perform in Nebraska?
Ultrasound technicians working in Nebraska have various duties within the course of their workday. Although duties may be different working in a clinic than they’d be in a hospital, the typical day may consist of the following duties.
• Preparing patients for their imaging procedures and being available to answer questions and concerns
• Preparing the diagnostic imaging equipment
• Recording and documenting the patient’s medical stats and history
• Observe the sonography tests and determine if they’re normal or abnormal
• Prepare a report to give to the physician regarding the test and your findings
Although ultrasound technicians may be trained to detect abnormalities in the tests, they are not typically allowed to relate this information to the patient, but must allow the physician to do so.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Nebraska?
The amount of time it takes to complete an ultrasound technician programs depends, in part, on the school but more on the program. Students pursuing an associate degree in sonography may be in school for two years, while those in bachelor degree programs can plan on around four years. Healthcare specialists who are in a sonography certificate program can usually complete this in 12-18 months.