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You may be familiar with the ultrasound technicians who help create diagnostic images for pregnant women, but did you know that they also provide diagnostic medical images for almost every part of the human body? There are ultrasound technicians who work on abdomens, muscular and skeletal systems, breasts, and even vascular systems.
Ultrasound technicians are trained to use a device called a transducer that emits sound waves. When the waves hit solid masses or objects in the body, an image is formed on the screen attached to the transducer. The technician examines this image in order to diagnose the patient. The technicians are also responsible for upkeep of the machines that they use.
What Sort of Training Do I Need? How Do I Become Certified?
In order to become an ultrasound technician, you must complete either an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree.
Some of the subjects covered in ultrasound technician training programs include:
- General Biology
- Basic Anatomy and Physiology
- Basic Sonography Skills
- Proper Care of Instruments
- Clinical Hours (lab setting)
If you want to practice as an ultrasound technician, then most clinics and hospitals will require you to hold an active certification. Certification in both general ultrasound technology and speciality fields is provided by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The main exam is the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Examination, which has specialist subcategories such as fetal echocardiography, neurosonology, and obstetrics and gynecology. The credential earned grants you the title of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). Once you have passed your certifying exams, you will be free to look for work as an ultrasound technician. You will have to keep your certification active by taking regular exams and classes every two years.
What Job Opportunities are Available for Ultrasound Technicians?
The job outlook for ultrasound technicians is generally quite good. The average annual salary for technicians was $60,350 in 2012. This number is expected to rise as demand in the field grows.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the demand for ultrasound technicians is expected to grow by 46 percent between 2012 and 2022. This is because diagnostic imaging will become extremely useful as the American population ages. Instead of costly and invasive medical such as surgery, technicians can use ultrasounds to diagnose medical conditions. This saves time and money and has the added benefit of reducing harm done to the patient.
After some time working in hospitals or clinics, many ultrasound technicians are promoted in order to lead their respective sonography departments. Others choose to start working in research so that they can use their knowledge to help develop new technologies. Finally, some ultrasound technicians decide to start teaching in schools or training programs so that they can help the next generation of sonographers get their start.
Becoming an ultrasound technician is a great way to enter the healthcare industry in order to give something back to others. If this sounds like it would be a good career choice for you, then why not start inquiring about degree programs today?