Diagnostic imaging is a fast-growing field with the potential for job security and growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for diagnostic sonographers like ultrasound technicians are expected to grow by 21 percent between 2012 and 2022. The nationwide average for salaries for diagnostic sonographers is $55,910. According to Indeed, ultrasound technicians in Nevada can expect to make an average of $58,000.
The requirements for becoming an ultrasound technician are relatively easy to meet if you have an interest in math and the sciences.
What an Ultrasound Technician Does
Ultrasound technicians are best known for their work in dating and monitoring pregnancy. Ultrasound technology can detect the presence of a pregnancy and can monitor the developing fetus to ensure healthy growth. It can also be used to diagnose any potential issues with the pregnancy, such as the probable presence of Down’s Syndrome.
Ultrasound technology can also be used in the diagnosis of disease. For example, ultrasound technicians may help to find evidence of ovarian or testicular cancer, as well as problems in the digestive tract or abdomen.
Ultrasound technicians only take the images that are used in the diagnosis of disease. They are not medical doctors, and they cannot diagnose conditions on their own. Instead, they work as part of a medical team, helping to take and interpret the images to give the doctors they need to create the right treatment plan for their patients.
Education for an Ultrasound Technician
The most common path to becoming an ultrasound technician is to complete an associate’s degree in radiologic technology, diagnostic imaging or sonography, which takes one to two years. Some programs may be specifically designed for ultrasound technicians, while others will provide an overview of diagnostic imaging, then students can choose to specialize in ultrasound technology.
Bachelors degrees are also available, though it is not required to complete a four-year degree to become an ultrasound technician. Students can complete a bachelors degree to become competitive for more job opportunities, such as working at larger hospitals.
Education for an ultrasound technician focuses on core coursework in the sciences, such as biology, anatomy and physiology. Courses also cover pathophysiology for the diagnosis of disease.
All ultrasound technician programs in Nevada include a hands-on component that allows students to apply the practical skills they will use on the job. The practical component may take place in a skills laboratory at the school, or it may take place through internships or work study programs at local hospitals or clinics.
Ultrasound technicians must be certified to work in the state of Nevada. Certification is earned through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. To become certified, you must meet the education requirements, which include graduating from an accredited degree program, and then must pass a certifying exam. The exam covers both theoretical information covered in your degree training, as well as knowledge of the hands-on skills required for diagnostic imaging.
Certification is good for five years. At that time, you will have to take another exam to renew your certification. You will also be required to complete ongoing education to stay current on the latest research and techniques in the field.
Some employers may hire you on condition of completing your certification within a certain period of time. However, most will prefer that you have been certified before they hire you.
Licensing is not required in the state of Nevada. However, there has been a growing trend to require licensure for ultrasound technicians, and some industry insiders speculate that this will soon be a requirement in all states.
Becoming an ultrasound technician in Nevada can open up the door to a long and rewarding career. The educational path is shorter than many other medical careers, and there is a big demand for jobs with an above average salary. Learn more about the educational programs available in Nevada for ultrasound technicians to find out how you can get started on this exciting career path.