How to Become an Ultrasound Technician in New Jersey
If you are interested in becoming an ultrasound technician, you’re entering one of the best careers available with just an associates degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ultrasound technicians typically earn more than $60,000 per year, and this field is expected to grow much faster than other occupations over the next decade. Read on to learn more about the training and certification needed to become an ultrasound technician in New Jersey.
Ultrasound Technician Schools in NJ & Education Requirements
To become an ultrasound technician, you must graduate from an accredited sonography program. These programs are typically two years in length and are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs. There are seven accredited programs in the state of New Jersey: at the American Institute of Medical Science and Education in Piscataway; Bergen Community College in Paramus; Burlington County College in Pemberton; Gloucester County College in Sewell; JFK Medical Center in Plainfield; Rutgers University in Scotch Plains; Sanford Brown Institute in Iselin. While you only need a high school diploma to qualify for these programs, admission is competitive, so be sure to excel in science courses before you graduate.
Diagnostic ultrasound technicians operate special imaging equipment to take pictures of the inside of a patient’s body to determine whether she or he has certain medical conditions, or to determine the health of a growing fetus. Some sonographers also take necessary images during surgical procedures. He or she must analyze the images and provide recommendations to the doctor or nurse on duty. In addition to the technical aspects of the job, techs are also responsible for taking patient history, maintaining patient records, and answering questions during the procedure.
Upon completion of an accredited diagnostic sonography program, you are eligible to become certified through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This requires a certification exam in your area of specialty: abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, neurosonology, or obstetrics and gynecology. Upon passing one or more of these exams, you may work as a registered ultrasound technician in the state of New Jersey. As you ascend in your career, gaining additional certifications is a great way to make yourself more attractive to employers. To learn more about exams and certification, visit http://www.ardms.org/credentials_examinations/.
Pay for registered ultrasound technicians nationwide ranges from about $44,000 to $91,000, with most technicians making around $66,000. Because some of these positions are necessary around the clock at hospitals and health centers, techs who work night shifts and weekends are typically compensated more than those on day shift. In New Jersey, average annual salary for ultrasound technicians ranges from $66,170 to $72,960.
There are expected to be more than 42,000 new jobs in this field by 2022, due to the aging baby boomer population who will require medical testing and treatment in large numbers. And as imaging technology evolves, doctors will rely on ultrasound over other more invasive diagnostic methods.
To learn more about the career of an ultrasound technician, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook online at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-1.