If a career in the healthcare industry appeals to you and you want to work in a position where you can help others, becoming an ultrasound technician may be an ideal career move. Learn what it takes to become an ultrasound technician in Rhode Island, including length of program, salary info and requirements.
Ultrasound Technician Requirements
Working as an ultrasound technician or diagnostic medical sonographers, requires completing an accredited training program in sonography. As an ultrasound technician student, you’re required to complete didactic courses (coursework and lab) and a clinical internship to learn the various areas of sonography. To be successful in the program, you’ll be required to perform a designated number of sonography procedures.
While the National Center for Education Statistics reports there are more than 20 schools in Rhode Island that offer diagnostic medical sonography programs, not all the programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is important if you want to become certified. The CAAHEP is the most common accrediting agency for diagnostic medical sonography.
Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?
Prior education is not required for individuals just starting this career and pursuing associate degrees, although they must have completed any required prerequisite courses. Some sonography programs, such as the one offered at St. John Providence Health System, are certificate programs that require the student already have a degree in healthcare fields like respiratory therapy, radiography or nursing. You may also be required to have some training to become certified.
Are Ultrasound Technicians Required to be Certified?
Ultrasound technicians are not required to be certified in Rhode Island, although most obtain voluntary certification to improve their chances of employment and earning potential. Additionally, most employers prefer that their ultrasound technicians be certified.
How Can an Ultrasound Technician Become Certified?
Ultrasound technicians must pass a certification exam to become certified or registered. The most well-known organization for sonography certification is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). You may also obtain certification through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). In addition to passing an exam, the candidate must show proof that he or she has completed an approved training program and can perform sonography procedures. Technicians who specialize in specific areas of sonography, such as vascular, gynecological or cardiac, can become certified in each of these areas, in addition to being certified in general sonography.
Is Continuing Education Required?
You do not need continuing education (CE) to continue working as an ultrasound technician, but CE is required to maintain your certification. Below are the accrediting agencies, the length of the certification and hours of CE required to maintain the particular certifications.
• ARDMS – 10 years – 30 hours of CE
• ARRT – 2 years – 24 hours of CE
• CCI – 3 years – 36 hours of CE
Ultrasound Technician Salary in Rhode Island
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that ultrasound technicians in Rhode island earned a mean annual wage of $78,750 as of May 2012 – an amount substantially higher than the nationwide average of $66,360. According to a 2014 Indeed.com report, salaries in Rhode Island ranged from $26,000 to $81,000. The lowest wages were earned by vascular sonographers, while the highest wages were earned by registered vascular sonographers. Echo stenographers and cardiac sonographers earned $48,000 and $64,000 respectively.
What Job Duties Can an Ultrasound Technician Perform in Rhode Island?
Throughout the course of the day, an ultrasound technician has many duties, but the major one is performing diagnostic sonographic procedures used ultrasound equipment. The ultrasound technician will also prepare and maintain equipment; coordinate and schedule exams; record results; calibrate equipment; monitor and order inventory and prepare a written summary for the physician. You may also provide comfort for the patient and answer questions about the procedure; giving the results to the patient is left to the physician, however.
How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Rhode Island?
The length of the program varies by the type of program and the school. However, associate degree programs generally take two years to complete, while certificate programs can take anywhere from one to two years to complete. Diagnostic medical sonography programs in Rhode Island are offered in colleges and hospital settings.