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Ultrasound tech review: Duties of Ultrasound Technician

 Ultrasound tech review

What does an ultrasound technician do?

Ultrasound technicians are responsible for operating the equipment that produces and records images or tests. These images are used by physicians to make a diagnosis.

Most people are familiar with the role of an ultrasound technician as it relates to pregnancy, but sonograms are also used to examine breast tissue, the brain and spinal cord and muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, and organs in the abdominal cavity. .

Like other allied health careers, there is a potential for specialization with sonography. Cardiac sonographers perform imaging of a patient's heart, heart chambers, valves, and vessels. A vascular sonographer is similar to a cardiac sonographer, but they focus primarily on blood vessels and blood flow.

The job of an ultrasound technician requires much more than just producing an image. You will interact with patients preparing them for the procedure. You will also need a keen eye; Ultrasound technicians need to be able to recognize normal and abnormal images. Analyzing clinical information and providing it to the physician is a routine task.

Ultrasound technicians primarily work in hospitals, physician's offices, and laboratories, but before you can get there, you'll need to earn an ultrasound technician education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Outlook Handbook, job growth for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow 12% by 2029, much higher than all other occupations. This means that now is an excellent time to consider your education and future career. Note that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.  

How long does it take to become an ultrasound technician?

The Associate of Science Degree (AAS) in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the minimum education required to become a practicing sonographer. Students with an existing degree in a patient care-related field may be able to apply to a shorter-term certificate program. Prerequisites for admission to most degree programs include college-level math, science, and English. Program completion times may vary depending on specific program requirements.

Earn your degree

Certificate program

About 12-18 months

Usually designed for current healthcare professionals or those who have already completed some kind of higher education

Prepares students for entry level sonography positions 

Associate Degree

At least 2 years of full time attendance

Usually results in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree

Diagnostic Medical with specialization in Sonography

Prepares students to become a practicing sonographer

Selecting a program accredited through the Commission for the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is critical to being eligible to take exams through the ARDMS or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) organizations. 

Bachelor Degree

About 4 years

Usually results in a Bachelor of Science degree with a

Specialization in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Prepares students to become a practicing sonographer

To choose a program recognized through CAAHEPis Important to be eligible to take the exam through ARDMS or CCI organization

Can provide more job opportunities to the students due to additional length of education and specialty training, permitted to make them eligible for various specialty registry examinations 

Get certified

Attending a college accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will prepare you to sit the National Certification Examination. Certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) is required by almost all employers.

ARDMS: ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) is a leading accrediting organization recognized in the United States and around the world. Many states require an aspiring sonographer to become certified in one of the 5 ultrasound specialties offered through ARDMS by completing educational and experiential pre-requisites and writing a certification exam.

Other licensing or certification organizations that provide credentials related to ultrasound technology include ARRT (American Registry for Radiologic Technologists), CCI (Cardiovascular Credentialing International) and JCAHPO (Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology).

In some states, such as New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oregon, mandatory licensing laws for ultrasound technologists have either been passed or proposed. It will be impossible to become a sonographer without a license or certificate in these four states.

In states where ultrasound certification is not legally required, most employers still prefer or require an ultrasound technician to have a license or credential. In general, those who are certified have a competitive advantage over those who are not looking for employment. 

Ultrasound technician salary

The salary of an ultrasound technician varies depending on the area of ​​expertise, level of experience, education, certification and other factors.2

• Average annual salary: $74,320

• Top 10% annual salary: over $102,060

• Bottom 10% annual salary: less than $52,770 

Ultrasound Technician Skills and Competencies

In addition to the education and training requirements, there are certain characteristics that can help you excel once you land an ultrasound technician position. Some of the soft skills needed to be successful in this career include the following:

Active listening: Your patients may have questions about the procedure. To answer their questions, you need to have a complete understanding of what they are asking.

Verbal communication: You need to instruct your patients exactly how to position themselves in order to get an accurate picture.

Interpersonal skills: In addition to listening and speaking skills, excellent social skills and the ability to empathize and empathize with their patients are also essential.

Reading comprehension: The doctor will send you written instructions to tell you what images they need. You should be able to understand them.

Critical Thinking: This skill will allow you to evaluate alternative solutions to problems. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is an imaging method that uses high frequency sound waves to create images of what is happening inside the body. A hand-held device, called a transducer, sends sound waves traveling through the body. These waves bounce off structures within the body and then travel back to the transducer, which in turn creates the image visible on the screen. The images show the size, shape, and consistency of tissues and organs. Ultrasound is used to image many parts of the body, including, but not limited to, the liver, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, gall bladder, spleen, blood vessels, thyroid, testes, uterus and ovaries, muscles, as well as the fetus, is not limited to.

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