An ultrasound technician uses high frequency sound waves to form an image of the interior of a patient’s body.
By directing sound waves and measuring their shape and echo, an image is formed which is then used to diagnose and treat a medical problem.
Ultrasound is becoming the favored method of imaging, with many doctors preferring an ultrasound to radiology.
For this reason, employment for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow over the coming years.
An ultrasound technician is sometimes referred to as a diagnostic medical sonographer.
If you’re interested in the human body and health, want a career in medicine, and would enjoy working closely with people, then you might like to become an ultrasound technician.
With good job opportunity and an interesting role to take on, it’s a promising career path overall.
Education Requirements to Become an Ultrasound Technician
There are many different pathways to becoming an ultrasound technician.
Many people in this occupation learn on the job, while working in a hospital, a research center, or within the armed forces.
There are less and less of these on the job opportunities becoming available.
Most ultrasound technicians complete a two year associates degree at vocational school, then get an entry level role in a hospital.
Another option would be to complete a four year degree in college in health that had an emphasis on anatomy and physiology.
While you are not required to be licensed to become a ultrasound technician, you may decide to become registered with one of the governing bodies.
This will make you more attractive to employers, and also give you access to the latest industry trends and professional development opportunities.
For further career advice on working as an ultrasound technician, take a look at the SDMS website.
If you are interested in professional registration, you may like to get in contact with the ARDMS.
Ultrasound Technician Job Description
An ultrasound technician uses high frequency sound waves to form an interior image of a patient.
This can be done anywhere on the body, however technicians usually specialize in a particular part of the body, such as the abdomen, or nervous system.
The bounce and echo of the sound waves is recorded, this data is then used to form a picture which can be photographed or recorded as a video.
When you become an ultrasound technician, good communication skills are important.
Patients often have a lot of questions about the procedure.
Being able to help them to feel comfortable is important.
You’ll also need to have a good understanding of medical terminology, as well as human physiology.
You’ll spend a good amount of time discussing tests and subsequent results with doctors, specialists, and other medical staff.
Here are some of the duties of an ultrasound technician:
- Taking instructions for an ultrasound from a medical professional
- Meeting with a patient and explaining the process
- Making sure a patient is comfortable
- Administering the ultrasound
- Ensuring recording equipment is functional
- Processing photographs and video of the ultrasound
- Taking measurements of certain structures during the ultrasound
- Delivering results to medical staff
Ultrasound Technician Salary and Career Path
When you become an ultrasound technician, it’s quite likely that you will be employed by a hospital.
Some are also employed in private consulting suites by physicians or other medical staff.
A few work in education and research also.
When you start your career, you will spend some time working with others who are experienced in this role.
Once you learn the ropes you can expect to work on your own and be trusted with more involved cases.
Many ultrasound technicians also undergo additional training later on to work in specialized roles, for instance obstetrics.
Some similar roles to an ultrasound technician include:
The median wage for an ultrasound technician is $60,000 a year.
An entry level role may pay around $40,000 a year.
Specialists can earn more than $80,000 a year.
An ultrasound technician is one of the higher paying roles in the health field.
If you’re interested in medicine and the human body, then you might like to become an ultrasound technician.
Employment opportunities are strong, and looks set to grow in the coming years.
There is also the option of taking on further training later in your career.
If you want to work with people and have a stable career in the health industry, then this is a good choice.