Sonography equipment relies on reflected sound waves to create images of internal structures. It is the responsibility of ultrasound technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers or sonographers to use the devices to create the required images that assist physicians or other healthcare providers in formulating a diagnosis and course of treatment. Depending on training, experience and location of employment, ultrasound technicians might also obtain measurements, perform calculations, document results and evaluate images.
Educational and Training Requirements
Students interested in becoming an ultrasound technician typically acquire education and training by attending a college or university. Programs vary in length and curriculum requirements. The majority of employers require that technicians have successfully completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, which means a two to four-year commitment toward getting the necessary education. Curriculum includes anatomy and physiology, obstetrics and familiarization with ultrasound equipment, in addition to specified generalized courses. During the course of study, students also participate in hands-on laboratory and clinical settings at medical facilities.
Wyoming Ultrasound Programs
In the state of Wyoming, students may obtain an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, or DMS, at the Laramie County Community College at either the Cheyenne or Laramie campus. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Prior to acceptance into the diagnostic medical sonography program, students must successfully complete prerequisite courses, obtain three references and complete 16 hours of pre-admission observation at a designated medical facility. Upon acceptance into the program, students receive training in healthcare ethics, the basics of DMS, radiographic patient skills and ultrasound physics. Graduation from the program requires successful completion of 95 to 97 credit hours.
Ultrasound Certification and Licensure
The state of Wyoming does not require that ultrasound technicians have certification or licensure. However, employers often require the credentials as an assessment of the technician’s skills. Prior to taking the examination administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, technicians must complete one year or 1,000 hours of clinical practice. Becoming a registered diagnostic sonographer initially requires passing the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Examination. Within five years of passing this exam, technicians must then pass an examination in one of the following specialty fields:
* Obstetrics and Gynecology
* Fetal Echocardiography
* Pediatric Echocardiography
* Adult Echocardiography
* Vascular Technology
Maintaining credentials requires that technicians obtain continuing education credits through approved courses.
Ultrasound Technician Job Outlook in Wyoming
By the year 2020, positions for the occupation of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase by 19%. According to the United States Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that salaries for ultrasound technicians in Wyoming range from $51, 060 to $89,190, with the average salary being $67,460. However, the hourly wage an ultrasound technician receives also varies depending on the level of education and experience an individual possesses. Wages will also vary depending on the physical location of a medical facility. Positions in larger cities or medical facilities often offer higher wages.
Duties of an Ultrasound Technician
* Technicians must effectively communicate with patients and members of the medical community.
* Properly set-up and operate ultrasound equipment
* Utilize appropriate safety measures
* Have knowledge of the appearance and location of internal structures in order to acquire images that demonstrate diagnostic value
* Capably operate the equipment and monitor a patient’s condition while in a darkened environment
* Recognize and act appropriately in the event of an emergency medical situation
* Capable of performing the necessary physical movements associated with the occupation
* Review and evaluate images
* Have a genuine concern for others, demonstrate integrity, and respect the confidentiality of patients
* Maintain organized medical records as required
* Appropriately share medical record information with individual patients or healthcare providers