Ultrasound technician careers are one of the most sought after careers in the medical field. This is due to the fact that job opportunities in this field are continuing to increase. A growing number of diagnostic imaging professionals are needed in hospitals every year. While a career as an ultrasound technician is popular, anyone considering this job should first understand what it entails.
What does an Ultrasound Technician Do?
In order to understand working in this career field, it is important to first understand what ultrasound technology is. Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, handle equipment that uses sonic waves (sound waves) to visually display images of the internal organs as well as tissues of the patient. The sonographer will use what is called a transducer, which transmits the sound waves. The images lead to a diagnosis of the medical problem at hand and possible treatment options. Sonography, or ultrasonography, is an alternative to procedures that involve radiation.
Ultrasound technicians are in charge of operating the ultrasound machines in a medical setting. Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to form a picture of a patient’s internal organs so that the doctor can properly diagnose and treat any medical problems without resorting to invasive surgery. Most people think of ultrasound technicians as the people who work with pregnant women to monitor the baby as it grows, and while this may be one of their duties, there are a lot of other tasks that ultrasound technicians perform. It’s an exciting and rewarding career with plenty of opportunities for advancement in the workplace.
One of the requirements usually needed for an ultrasound technician is a strong background in healthcare or medical science. Most training courses require their students to receive a degree in healthcare before continuing on to the sonography program. After completing the sonography course, students will have either a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree as an ultrasound technician, and a waiting job as an employee of a hospital or clinic.
Ultrasound technician careers are widely available in every state in the US. Recent advances in ultrasound technology have made it even more useful in hospitals to help diagnose and treat a huge number of conditions, and as such ultrasound technicians are in high demand.
Once you have a degree in sonography, you can easily advance your career by enrolling in a certification course to enter a specialized field of medicine. As an ultrasound technician, you’ll have your entire future spread out before you.
The sonographer is instructed by the physician to look at certain areas of the patient’s internal organs. He or she will use advanced ultrasound equipment to do the reading and to report back to the physician. The images can be photographed and videotaped for interpretation. Ultrasound technicians work in hospitals or diagnostic imaging centers. An ultrasound technician must be physically healthy in order to be able to use the equipment.
As an ultrasound technician, you will have to provide directions for patient positioning and explain the procedure to patients. You need to achieve the best positioning for viewing the area of the patient. You will have to operate the equipment and sort through the recorded images. In other words, sonographers must be able to look for cues that indicate an unhealthy area. You must be able to select the images that are most appropriate for interpretation. Ultrasound technicians must also record medical histories of patients and be able to do maintenance of the equipment.
Where Do You Start?
There are various different ways one can enter the field. In order to become an ultrasound technician, candidates may complete a two-year associate’s degree in sonography. However, some complete bachelor’s degrees for more advancement in the field. It is possible to obtain certification for specialization.
The process also requires candidates to complete training programs. The training is done in hospitals, colleges, vocational schools or the armed forces. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has accredited over 150 programs for ultrasound technicians at colleges and universities. A license is not required in any state; however, employers may give priority to registered sonographers.
To become a registered ultrasound technician, one must complete proper training and education in order to take the examination. It is required that technicians complete a certain number of education hours to get registration.
Ultrasound technician careers allow you to specialize in other fields including gynecology, neurology, obstetrics and gastrointestinal medicine. Because of these different avenues, this specialized career field is gaining popularity and looks to become quite competitive in the future.