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How to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia

If you are looking for a rewarding job, then there is no better time to start a career as an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia. The very first step in becoming an Ultrasound Technician is attaining the education that will make you most marketable.

Ultrasound Technician Requirements

While formal training is not necessarily required, the best applicants in today’s competitive job market have some Ultrasound Technician education. Fortunately, Virginia offers several Ultrasound Technician schools and programs to help get started in this exciting field. Most widely accepted is the accredited associate degree program with a concentration in general ultrasound technology. These programs include training on using ultrasound technology to find diseases in the human body, and program completion can take one to two years.

License and Certification

Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia are not required to be licensed. Despite this, many Ultrasound Technicians choose to gain further credentials past their formal training. Many Ultrasound Technicians opt to acquire certification ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) to maximize their success in finding a rewarding job. Upon completion of an ultrasound technology program, application can be made to the ARMDS. Once you’ve passed the exam, you will be granted the RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) designation.

There are also other certifications available to Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia. The The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, or ARRT, offers a certification for general sonography, as well as vascular and breast sonography credentials. Another certifying body, the Cardiovascular Credentialing International, offers a certification for cardiac sonography. For both certifications, applicants from non-accredited can apply, but they must be able to prove their experience through requirements specific to each certifying body. However, graduates of accredited institutes can apply directly. In 2015, the ARRT will no longer accept applicants from non-accredited facilities.

Continuing Education

While Virginia does not require continuing education for Ultrasound Technicians, credits will need to be periodically earned for certificate-holders. In order to maintain ARMDS credentials, you will need to complete 30 ultrasound continuing medical education (CME) credits per three years. For the ARRT, you will need to attain 24 approved CME credits or pass an exam offered by the ARRT each year to maintain credentials. CCI requires 36 CME credits each three years for Registry Level certificate-holders, and 16 units are required per three years for Certified Level certificate-holders. These CME credits can be waived if the registrant passes an exam offered by CCI.

To attain continuing education goals, CME credits must be obtained from approved sponsors. While there are many options, there are some excellent no-cost options, including GE Healthcare, Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Ultrasound Technician Job Description

In Virginia, Ultrasound Technicians are tasked with a variety of duties. Ultrasound Techs are responsible for verifying patient data and medical history, communicating with and comforting patients, consulting with other medical professionals, operating ultrasound equipment, analyzing and verifying results, administering contrast via IV line when needed and positioning patients to acquire ultrasounds.

Ultrasound Technician Salary in Virginia

Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia enjoy employment at some of the nation’s best hospitals and ancillary care facilities, including Lynchburg Medical Hospital and University of Virginia Medical Center. Ultrasound Techs are also enjoying job growth due to the Affordable Care Act and the need for greater healthcare access for the general population. The average salary for Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia was $70,840 in 2012.

Once you’ve gained education from an accredited ultrasound technology program, you will be able to sit for certification. The combination of education and certification will open the door to employment at one of Virginia’s medical facilities. Because of projected job growth and growing salaries, now is a great time to pursue education as an Ultrasound Technician in Virginia.