Ultrasound technicians use ultrasound technology to create images of patients that are used by physicians to diagnose and treat various medical conditions. Although most commonly known for its use during pregnancy, ultrasound technology is used in other medical fields, such as neurology, cardiology and mammography.
Many ultrasound technicians specialize in one (or more) areas of medicine, such as obstetrics and gynecology. A majority of technicians are employed by hospitals and other healthcare facilities, with some splitting their time between several locations.
Individuals interested in ultrasound technology can receive training at vocational schools, four-year colleges and universities, and in the Armed Forces. While more advanced positions generally require a bachelor’s degree, some entry-level jobs may only require a certificate or associate degree. Programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs are preferred by most employers, and should include instruction in medical ethics, anatomy, physiology, physics and instrumentation. Technician candidates can gain hands-on experience by completing an internship with a hospital or medical clinic.
Ultrasound technicians should look into certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Registration requires a combination of education and training and a passing grade on the certification exam. Additionally, ultrasound technicians are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their certification.
Ultrasound technicians are invaluable to the medical field and play a vital role in medical diagnosis. In addition to performing ultrasound exams, technicians maintain equipment, keep detailed patient records, and analyze data for physicians. Job duties also require excellent communication skills for frequent interaction with patients and physicians.
The field of ultrasound technology requires competence in the following areas:
Some situations may require ultrasound technicians to move or lift patients.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for ultrasound technician jobs will grow by 18 percent through the year 2018.
According to a May 2008 government report, the median salary for an ultrasound technician was just under $62,000, with salaries ranging from $43,500 to $84,000. Area(s) of expertise, location, and background are all factors affecting ultrasound technician salaries.