Ultrasound technicians use specific equipment to scan parts of the human body, like the abdomen, thyroid, and heart.
Then, technicians work beside doctors to help diagnose conditions through imaging technologies.
What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?
- Ready the exam room and ultrasound equipment to administer examinations
- Support radiologists with ultrasound-guided biopsies or procedures
- Identify particular anatomy and pathology using sonographic devices
- Write medical summaries about scan results and outcomes
- Inform relevant medical staff of any irregularities during an ultrasound that needs urgent attention
- Work autonomously
How Does an Ultrasound Technician Differ from a Medical Sonographer?
An ultrasound technician and a medical sonographer are often used interchangeably. Both refer to someone who scans the body to pursue a medical diagnosis or additional internal medical information.
However, an ultrasound is the reading of sound waves, while a sonogram is a photo of sound waves bouncing off the body's internal parts.
Career Trajectory of an Ultrasound Technician
Once you've decided to pursue a career as an ultrasound technician, there are still things to consider, like the future viability of the work and what educational requirements are needed to be successful.
Is This a Good Career Choice in 2021?
The abilities and qualifications of ultrasound technicians are becoming quite popular. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 26 percent increase in ultrasound and sonography positions in future years. Thus, beginning a career as an ultrasound technician can lead to increased employment opportunities.
How do I become an ultrasound technician?
After completing high school, those who aspire to become an ultrasound technician will need to attend a specific collegiate educational program. Students working toward an ultrasound technician degree and certification are required to study the human body and proper ultrasound techniques.
Other mandatory courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Echocardiography pathology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Principles of abdominal sonography
Once the educational coursework is complete, a certain number of hours are usually needed as part of a clinical externship.
How much does an ultrasound technician make?
Some variations between different states exist when comparing ultrasound technician salaries. Nevertheless, the financial prospect for ultrasound technicians is excellent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ultrasound technicians across the country make around $68,970, with an unemployment rate of 1.9 percent.
Are Requirements Different for Technicians from State to State?
Usually, technicians must be certified by a nationally recognized organization as part of the licensure process, but licensure laws are different depending on the state.
Be sure to consult with your local rules to work within regulatory compliance.
Skills Required to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Core skills are required to enter the ultrasound profession successfully. As you choose your career path, be sure to review and compare the following abilities.
While an ultrasound technician uses technology and specialized equipment to decide medical information, technicians also have to talk to patients, nurses, and doctors.
Before the ultrasound, technicians explain the procedure. During the ultrasound, technicians may often talk to patients about their findings or comfort patients if they are nervous.
Ultrasound technicians obtain images of patients and then label each picture carefully and accurately. Outstanding record-keeping and reliable organizational abilities are crucial for this position.
Patients depend on the findings for their physical health, and doctors rely on your expertise to diagnose and treat people.
3. Medical Knowledge
Understanding human anatomy is required to capture useful images. Specifically, ultrasound technicians must have a full range of medical knowledge so that as other photographic information is needed, technicians can adjust quickly and provide critical information.
What are the Career Progressions for an Ultrasound Technician?
Promotions and professional development are parts of any vocation that individuals should consider before entering the field. By specializing, earning a higher education, and expanding your job description, ultrasound technicians can capitalize on advancement opportunities.
Specialize in a Sub-Field
Becoming a specialist in one topic increases your value for both your practice and your patients. In addition, picking a specialty can further your career, regardless of how many years you have been in the field.
If you are beginning your education in ultrasound administration, search which schools propose specialization from the onset. For example, some programs may offer cardiovascular sonography, abdominal sonography, or OB/GYN ultrasound.
As you begin to think of specializing, consider your passions. Discovering the type of patients you'd most like to work for can help you decide on the best path for your career.
Earn Additional Education Accolades
Earning additional degrees, or taking specialized continuing education courses, allows you to be eligible for more job opportunities. While post-secondary education is expensive, it is an investment in your future.
With the many financial aid opportunities available through employers and colleges, finding the program that works for your career goals is attainable.
If the commitment of returning to school and earning an additional degree is too daunting or unworkable, taking continuing education courses and building other certifications help you advance in your career.
Take on Additional Responsibilities and Grow Your Role
While keeping your job as an ultrasound technician, you can grow and develop your role to become an invaluable team member. First, reach out to your supervisor or a mentor in your field and ask if your practice or hospital needs anything additional. Then, if you have interest and experience, offer to take it on!
Growing your role might encompass obtaining other certifications, so research what additional education or other requirements is needed for any further responsibilities. For example, ultrasound technicians who aim to work as registered nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN and obtain certification.
An excellent way to learn more about advancing your career is to network with other professionals in your space. Reach out to someone who has successfully expanded their role for advice about the best path forward.
Ultrasound Technician Job Openings
Entering the medical profession as an ultrasound technician is a great job and a stable career moving forward. Good communication skills and holistic knowledge of medical anatomy are necessary skills that will ensure you go far in this field.