Paving the Way to an Ultrasound Technician Career
The medical field needs ultrasound technicians to assist in the diagnostic process for people suffering from a variety of health conditions, including cancer, pregnancy and blood clots. People interested in a low-key job in a hospital setting may enjoy being an ultrasound technician. Ultrasound procedures are performed without the use of dyes or contrast, making the process quick and pain-free for most patients.
Most technicians work in a dedicated medical facility, though some may travel to different hospitals or doctor’s offices. All ultrasound technicians complete two years of schooling and several training courses before applying for their dream job. There is also an extensive certification process to consider before accepting any official jobs.
Community colleges offer a two-year associate’s degree in medical diagnostic sonography to aspiring ultrasound technicians. Although a one-year certificate is available, it is wise to obtain the two-year degree to stay competitive in this field.
Students will take a combination of math, English and life science courses while in college. The life science courses focus heavily on anatomy, biology and disease processes. Students may take anthropology, sociology and psychology courses to learn how to relate with their patients a little easier.
Ultrasound technicians can continue their education well after obtaining a secure position in the medical field. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers a certificate program that may make it easier to obtain advanced positions or raises. Technicians must pass an exam and provide proof of an extensive work history to obtain this certificate, or others like it.
After obtaining a degree or certificate, ultrasound technicians can start applying at local hospitals, doctor’s offices or mobile medical facilities. Jobs in this field should continue to increase through at least 2020.
Since technicians work in the medical field, good benefits come standard with most positions. In addition, technicians should make about $60,000 a year full-time. Even part-time technicians make around $30 an hour.
A quiet work environment makes this job even more desirable. Technicians enjoy the rewarding nature of their job duties. Since ultrasounds are rarely painful, most patients cooperate with the procedure without any fuss.
Most technicians spend the day finding or ruling out health problems, writing up reports and speaking with other medical professionals. Ultrasound technicians may measure the growth of embryos and fetuses during nearly any stage of pregnancy. Many parents look to sonograph operators to learn the gender of their growing child.
Ultrasound technicians use their sonograph equipment to create a clear visualization of the patient’s internal structures. Soft organ tissue, blood vessels and bone structure show up on the sonograph screens with minimal manipulations.
Reports on any findings are usually inputted directly into the system as images are recorded. Technicians may rarely write up additional reports to assist in the diagnostic process. Images recorded on the sonograph equipment are either printed out or sent digitally.
Technicians must talk their patients through the procedure to keep them in a calm state of mind. If patients cannot move themselves into position, ultrasound techs may need to assist in shifting their bodies around.
Get Started Today
People interested in starting a career in this field should contact local community colleges to see if they offer a sonograph degree. It is also possible to contact organizations that offer certificate programs directly. Most local hospitals can direct prospective students to organizations and schools that prepare new hires for the job.
The sign up process is quick and easy. Students can apply for financial aid and support services if their current income cannot pay for school. Otherwise, students apply for admission to the school, and then sign up for prerequisite courses listed on the degree program. An advisor can help students make their way through this process to start the sonograph degree program.