If you like science, helping people and working as part of a team, one profession you should consider is being an ultrasound technician. You get to look into the human body in order to help those struggling with a disease, having a baby or not sure what might be wrong. You are a critical member to the medical field when you are an ultrasound technician.
Ultrasound technicians are responsible for using high frequency sound waves, known as ultrasound, via a transducer that produces visual pictures of different organs or areas of the body to detect or treat certain illness. Not only do technicians look at hearts, livers, blood vessels and other body parts, they are also able to check the development and growth of fetuses. Ultrasound is used to guide needles for the purpose of biopsies. Ultrasound technicians are also able to analyze test image results to determine whether body areas are healthy or not, oftentimes forwarding reports to physicians. They must be able to adjust unclear images, help patients prepare for an ultrasound, explain the process to patients and maintain patient records for future use.
Other than being able to run the necessary equipment for ultrasounds, technicians must also be able to lift and move at least 50 pounds, push and pull consistently, bend and stoop routinely, be able to move wrists, hands and shoulders easily and be able to hear well. Technicians need to be able to distinguish between different colors, work on their feet most of the day, show sensitivity to patients and communicate well with physicians, nurses and patients.
How long it takes an ultrasound technician to earn a license depends on what degree they want to earn. Coursework lasts anywhere from one to four years. Those with only one year usually already have a degree in another medical area. Earning an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree along with a certificate, which is obtained after you have completed your coursework and passed the exam, is required by most employers. Necessary coursework includes classes such as medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, interpreting sonograms and mathematics.
The job outlook for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow about 40 percent by the year 2020. This is much faster than the average occupational growth. Because more ultrasound technicians are finding work outside of hospitals, such as in physicians’ offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and other outpatient facilities, the need is great. As people age, they become more reliant on the services of ultrasound technicians for diagnosing medical problems. Also, many insurance companies are steering their clients more in the direction of outpatient procedures instead of those requiring in-hospital stays. Ultrasound technicians are needed due to technological advances.
Those technicians who specialize in more than one area have a greater chance for job security. Common areas include specializing in abdomen, breast, cardiac, musculoskeletal, neurosonology, obstetrics and gynecology along with vascular technology.
Because the job outlook for ultrasound technicians is so good, if you are looking to have a job in the medical field, becoming an ultrasound technician about guarantees you a job. Keep in mind that job requirements and schooling necessary for this occupation.