Ultrasound Technicians are also called as Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or Ultrasound Technologists. The Word “Ultrasound” defines about the sound or other vibrations having frequencies greater than 20 kHz which is above the range of human hearing. The Ultrasound is used in many different fields. One of the main fields is Medical Industry where the Ultrasound acts as an imaging for producing high-frequency sound waves to view organs and structures inside the body.
See also: Top 10 Radiology Technician Career Facts
In The Article
Definition And Nature of Work
Ultrasound Technicians are in charge of operating special equipments that uses high frequency sound waves to view and record images of organs and structures inside the body. These images help Health care professionals to examine body’s internal organs and diagnose the patient`s disease.
It helps the Health care professionals to view and examine the body’s internal organs such as heart, blood vessels, abdominal aorta and its major branches, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, ovaries, and unborn child (fetus) in pregnant women.
Becoming a Ultrasound Technician
- Ultrasound technology is a rapidly growing area of healthcare, with no slowdown in sight.
- To become an Ultrasound Technician, the candidate should have a high school diploma or a GED (General Education Degree). Also, the candidate should have knowledge in human anatomy and should be trained in using Ultrasound Technology.
- Ultrasound Technician Training ranges from Certificate and Associate`s Degree Programs, to Bachelor`s Degree Programs and even Master`s degree programs.
- The courses are offered in both Part Time and Full Time, and also in Online. The Candidates who have already done clinical hours, has the option to complete Ultrasound Training Courses in Online.
- The combination of Classroom and Laboratory training are mostly preferred, since 1000 hours of clinical training is required to qualify for Ultrasound Technician Examinations. The Clinical training helps the candidate to learn, and practice ultrasound skills in a live environment.
Is This Career Right For You?
Before stepping into this carrier, the candidates have to find out whether this Ultrasound Technician Carrier is best suited for them.
Some of the Basic requirements:
- Must maintain a certain grade point average in order to continue with the Ultrasound Technician Programs
- Must be prepared for interviews regarding the Ultrasound, since some colleges require interviews to admit a candidate to the Ultrasound Training Program.
- Must have excellent critical thinking skill to understand the anatomy or pathology, so as to select the images that are most useful for the Health care professionals.
- Must have good physical health and have good stamina, to stand for prolonged periods, and to lift weights of 50 pounds or more, since the Ultrasound Technician will be asked to change the position of the Patient while taking Ultrasound.
- Must have desirable manual dexterity and excellent verbal and interpersonal relationship skills to be calm when facing anxious or angry patients
Ultrasound Technician Programs
Colleges and universities help the candidates to train them in the Ultrasound tech training program.
Ultrasound tech training program options:
- 1-year Certificate or Diploma.
- 2-year Associate’s Degree
- 4-year Bachelor’s Degree
The following Table describes the course details:
|Course Name||Course Fee||Pre-Qualification||Completion Years|
|Associate Degrees for Ultrasound Technicians||$6,000-$40,000||High school diploma or its GED equivalent.||Two Years|
|Bachelor`s Degrees for Ultrasound Technicians||$30,000-$48,000||High school diploma or its GED equivalent.
Note: Can become Supervisor or can have above Entry-Level Positions in Ultrasound Field
|Certificate Degrees for Ultrasound Technicians||$5,000-$25,000||High school diploma or GED and should be over 18 years of age.
Note: If you are working in the same medical field, it will be easy to attain this Certificate Degree.
|One Year or Less.|
|Professional Certification for Ultrasound Technicians||$5,000-$25,000||Must pass ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) exam||One Year or Less.|
|Specialties in Ultrasound Technology Field||If the ultrasound technicians have specific interests, they can be specialized in Specific Areas.||If the ultrasound technicians have specific interests, they can be specialized in Specific Areas.||If the ultrasound technicians have specific interests, they can be specialized in Specific Areas.|
The candidates have to undergo basic courses in communications, logic, and mathematics, psychology, biology, and chemistry, depending on the level of degree they are going to study. Most of the courses typically include human anatomy, ultrasound equipment, pathophysiology, and obstetrics. The candidates can also add a certificate on to their existing health care education or can study an Associate`s or Bachelors in ultrasound.
Note: It is helpful for a job application to show a level of mastery in their line of work.
Some of the professional courses:
- Healthcare systems
- Healthcare management
- Fetal echo, neonatal and pediatric sonography
- Musculoskeletal sonography
- Breast sonography
Clinical, hands-on practical training is an added knowledge to the ultrasound technician training program. Professional certifications are most helpful for the Ultrasound Technicians career growth. After completing an Ultrasound Technician Program, graduates are eligible to become certified by taking examinations offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Also, candidates can take a program accredited by the Commission on Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Some Colleges offering Ultrasound Training in the USA:
1. Tulsa Community College:
Tulsa Community College is ranked in the top three percent of more than 1,150 community colleges nationally in the number of associate degrees awarded in all disciplines.
You can refer the college details in the website: Tulsa
2. Hinds Community College:
Hinds Community College is a community college with its main campus located in Raymond, Mississippi, about five miles west of Jackson, the state capital. It has an enrollment of over 12,000 students at six campuses, it is the largest community college in Mississippi.
You can refer the college details in the website: Hinds
3. Pitt Community College:
Pitt Community College is a two-year accredited institution of higher education and technical training school and is located in Winterville, North Carolina in Pitt County. This school has an enrollment of over 9,000 undergraduate students with a total of 11,771 students enrolled in the Curriculum Program. Pitt Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Associate’s Degrees.
You can refer the college details in the website: Pittcc
4. Cincinnati State Technical Community College
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is a technical and community college located in the Clifton neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. The college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
You can refer the college details in the website: Cincinnati state
5. Jones County Junior College
Jones County Junior College is a junior college accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools located in Ellisville, Mississippi. The College holds membership in the Mississippi Association of Colleges, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges and the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges.
You can refer the college details in the website: Jcjc
6. Weatherford College
Weatherford College is a community college located in Weatherford, Parker County, Texas, with branch campuses in nearby Wise County, Granbury, and Mineral Wells.
You can refer the college details in the website: WC
7. Lurleen B Wallace Community College
You can refer the college details in the website: Ibwcc
8. Lone Star College
Lone Star College System (LSCS) is a publicly funded, two-year, United States community college system serving the northern portions of the Greater Houston, Texas, area. With “more than 83,000 credit students each semester, and a total enrollment of 95,000 students, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the United States.
You can refer the college details in the website: Lonestar
9. Delta College
Delta College acquires its name from the ancient Greek symbol for change. It offers an exceptional education that prepares the students with the knowledge and skills for the dynamic world.
You can refer the college details in the website: Delta
10. Lasting Community College
Lansing Community College was founded in 1957. The main campus is situated on an urban, 42-acre (170,000 m²) site in downtown Lansing, Michigan
You can refer the college details in the website: LCC
11. El Centro College
El Centro College is a community college of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) in Dallas, Texas. El Centro’s location allows students from all parts of Dallas County to take advantage of core educational courses transferable to four-year institutions, as well as career training in more than 50 fields and a variety of continuing education and workforce education courses.
You can refer the college details in the website: Elcentrocollege
Most of the colleges and universities allow the candidates to maintain a certain grade point average to continue with the ultrasound technician program. Based on the program fees, location, and the name of the college, the Candidates can choose their college.
Career Advancement empowers the candidate to translate their academic foundation into professional success. It allows taking your career to the next level. There is an opportunity for advancement in this career through the attainment of certifications and master level degrees.
Ultrasound tech programs are similar; there can be differences in the area of focus. So it is important for those interested in Ultrasound Technician to decide on the aspect of the field they want to focus on. All of them apply the same principles of Ultrasound, but the concentration will vary.
The Candidates have to develop the talents in the Specific area to succeed in their career.
Popular specialties within medical imaging:
1. Breast ultrasound – for confirming or contradicting the results of a mammogram.
2. Obstetrics and Gynecology ultrasound– for monitoring fetal growth and development, and identifying any potential abnormalities. And for helping doctors diagnose ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancies and many other women`s health issues.
3. Vascular ultrasound– for identifying damaged/affected areas or blockages in blood vessels, and gauging the outflow of blood through veins and arteries.
4. Cardiac ultrasound (Echocardiography)– for seeing the heart and its valves in operation, and visually detecting abnormalities
5. Abdominal ultrasound– for diagnosing conditions affecting the abdomen and its internal organs
6. Neurosonography– for detecting abnormalities, blockages to the blood vessels within the brain,
7. Ophthalmologic ultrasonography– for evaluating the eye and the adjacent structures in a rapid and noninvasive manner
8. Musculoskeletal Sonography– Joint injuries and abnormalities can sometimes be difficult to diagnose effectively because the softer tissues of the muscles and ligaments are concealed behind denser bone tissues.
Some of the other advanced courses:
- Sectional Anatomy
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy of the Heart
- Physiology of the Heart
- Pathophysiology of the Heart
- Ultrasound Physics
Specialization is important for making Ultrasound career growth.
Ultrasound Technician Salary and Job Outlook
Based on the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), Ultrasound Technician earns an average wage of $63,630 in 2015. This salary is higher than many other fields for people who have an associate`s level education. The starting salary for an ultrasound Technician is $48,720.00, nationwide. The salary amount may differ based on the specialization and the location of working.
Based on a survey taken in 2015, the average salaries for the Ultrasound Technicians:
1. Cardiovascular Technologist: If the Technician has an Associate or Bachelor`s Degree in Cardiovascular Technology, he/she will get around $54,880
2. Radiologic Technologist: If the Technician has an Associate or Bachelor`s Degree in Radiologic Technology, he/she will get around $56,670
3. Respiratory Therapist: If the Therapist has an Associate or Bachelor`s Degree in Respiratory Therapy, he/she will get around
4. Surgical Technologist: If the Technologist has an Associate Degree in Surgical Technology, he/she will get around
Ultrasound technologists can move to supervisory and management roles, such as senior technologist, department supervisor, clinical instructor, or program director, based on their higher qualification, and can pursue High Salary. Thus, the Ultrasound Technician needs an Associate`s Degree and Voluntary Registration or Certification to gain the best chances in this field.
Ultrasound Technician - Positive Outlook
The Job of the Ultrasound Technician is more than just creating an image. They have a great share to do interacting with patients to prepare them for the procedure, having a keen eye to identify normal and abnormal images and scrutinizing the diagnostic information and providing it to the physician.
The General Benefits of Ultrasounds:
- Ultrasounds do not require needles, injections, or incisions, so it is painless for Patients.
- Patients are not exposed to ionizing radiation such as X-rays and CT scans, so the Ultrasound procedure is safer than other diagnostic techniques
- Ultrasound is less expensive than other imaging techniques
- Ultrasound provides a clear picture of soft tissues than X-Ray images
- Ultrasound does not cause health problems
- Ultrasound is safely used for evaluating pregnancy for nearly forty years
Due to the above features, medical industry nowadays prefers Ultrasound Technique for finding many diseases. So, JOB outlook or opportunity for ultrasound technicians is very high and is a definite plus.
Ultrasound technicians with certifications will get best job prospects.
Disadvantages - Ultrasound Technician
The career in Ultrasound can be rewarding and meaningful, providing personal and professional satisfaction as your make a significant difference in the lives of individuals, couples, families, and groups. However, as with all careers, there are disadvantages. Be aware of these disadvantages before entering an Ultrasound training program. This will help to decide if this is the right career choice.
Like most jobs, there are some disadvantages to being an ultrasound technician:
- Unpredictable working hours in hospitals and birthing centers
- Have to spend time on your feet for long hours
- Have to withstand the weight of the patient while changing the patient from the bed to the ultrasound chair.
- Will be exposed to excess of dB of ultrasound which can lead to hearing loss, but you are much safer than radiographic technology or X-rays
In spite of all these disadvantages, the carrier growth in Ultrasound is a rapidly increasing one, where you can chose time and area of working environments including general medical and surgical hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and outpatient centers. The need for Ultrasound Technicians is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over most of the next decade. In this Job, there are no limitations, in gender, race or ethnic background. Also, Ultrasound Technician carrier can be stated with a minimal education and certification and work can be continued with education and on-the-job training.
The Employers may expect the following Qualities from Ultrasound Technician:
- Has to solve and make decisions
- Has to work independently or in a team
- Has to manage the priorities in the work location
- Must be friendly with patient
The Ultrasound is safer, accurate and helps to diagnose medical problems that the doctor cannot see without surgery, so this Ultrasound will improve other people’s Lives. The Ultrasound helps to eliminate unnecessary surgery or helps facilitate more accurate surgery, thus helping people live healthier and more productive lives.
So the Ultrasound Technician job gives more satisfaction and life fulfillment.