Ultrasound techs are in high demand due to the increasing use of ultrasound technology. If you’re interested in a career in this field, there are several things you need to know. In this post, we will explore the different job opportunities available to ultrasound techs and the necessary education and training requirements. We will also discuss what kind of salary you can expect to earn in this career. So if you’re thinking about becoming an ultrasound tech, keep reading for more information.
1. What Is an Ultrasound Tech?
Ultrasound techs are also called diagnostic medical sonographers. They use sound waves to create images of the human body, which can be used for medical diagnosis. The images they produce can help identify structural problems with organs and tissues, such as tumors or blood clots. Ultrasound imaging provides information that is not available on regular x-rays. Therefore, the ultrasound tech is an integral part of the diagnostic process.
2. What Do Ultrasound Techs Do?
Ultrasound techs prepare patients for sonogram exams to explain what to expect during the exam. They also position patients on the exam table and apply conductive gel to their skin, which will help create the images. The ultrasound tech must also select and set up the equipment, such as transducers (probes), to create the image of the patient’s body part that needs to be examined. During the exam, they will move transducers across different angles on the body to capture high-resolution images that can be used for diagnosis.
Ultrasound techs will transfer the images to the physician, who uses them for diagnosis. They must also analyze the image and provide more information about the patient’s condition if needed. For example, ultrasound technicians can measure blood flow in an artery or determine fetal heart rate. Once the exam is finished, they must ensure that all equipment is cleaned and sterilized for the next patient.
3. What Are the Different Career Paths that an Ultrasound Tech Can Take?
There are three main areas in which an ultrasound technician can specialize. They are: Abdominal Sonography Cardiovascular Credentialing Examination Sonography Obstetric and Gynecologic Ultrasound Imaging Orthopedic Ultrasound Imaging
Abdominal (intro-abdominal) sonography is used to examine the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. Your main task as an abdominal ultrasound tech is to perform ultrasounds on these organs and identify any abnormalities that might be present. This type of exam also provides information on blood flow, bowel movements, and urinary retention.
Cardiovascular sonographers are responsible for performing non-invasive tests on the heart of patients to assess the condition of the chambers, valves, and vessels. They will examine these organs during diagnostic and stress testing (exercise). This type of imaging is also beneficial in determining whether there is any damage to the heart muscle.
Credentialed ultrasound techs can perform more advanced tests, such as echocardiography and Doppler ultrasound. Electrocardiography is used to assess how well the heart functions by measuring blood flow in the vessels. This information can then be used to determine whether there are any blockages in the heart. Doppler ultrasound testing can determine whether there are any valves or vessels that are not working correctly, as well as provide information about the presence of blood clots. Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in imaging organs specific to females, such as the uterus, ovaries, and prostate glands. They may also examine the pelvis to look for a fetus and its heartbeat.
Orthopedic sonographers can use an ultrasound machine to visualize muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to help diagnose problems with these areas of the body. They might look at an injury or infection that has affected a patient’s bones or cartilage. Some may also measure the flow of blood or other fluids in areas affected by injury.
4. What Kind of Education and Training Is Needed to Become an Ultrasound Tech?
To become an ultrasound technician, you need at least an associate degree. Most programs are two years long and include classroom instruction and clinical practice for learning how to perform sonograms. You will learn how to select the appropriate transducers and scan different areas of a patient’s body, as well as gain knowledge on how to clean and sterilize equipment properly.
In addition to classroom instruction, you will also need clinical practice to become familiar with scanning techniques. Most programs include externships for this type of experience before certifying you to work on patients. Most techs only need an associate degree, but some techs might go onto a bachelor’s degree for more advanced techniques and other research abilities.
High school students interested in becoming ultrasound techs should take health courses such as biology, chemistry, and physiology. To become credentialed, you will need to pass a certification exam, and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers this test and includes both written and practical sections.
5. What Does an Ultrasound Tech Earn Every Year?
According to May 2010 statistics, the average salary of sonographers was $69,280 per year. Salaries for this job were more than $3,000 higher for techs who had associate degrees.
The salary of an ultrasound tech depends on several factors; this includes location, job title, and work setting. For example, some techs may choose to become vascular sonographers (those who perform procedures on blood vessels). The average salary for this type of tech is around $81,950 per year.
6. What Is the Job Outlook for Ultrasound Techs?
Employment as an ultrasound tech is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020. This kind of growth is faster than average and may be due in part to advancements in technology that have made it possible for doctors to perform more types of ultrasounds. These advancements may lead to a greater need for technicians who know how to use these new machines. In addition, as more people have insurance, they have increased access to healthcare and may see an increase in the number of medical exams performed.
7. What Are the Benefits of Being an Ultrasound Tech?
In addition to a competitive salary, ultrasound techs may benefit from several types of healthcare benefits. Some companies offer 401(k) plans and paid time off. In addition, there are many opportunities for advancement in this career field. For instance, sonographers can become managers or directors at the hospitals they work in.
Sonographers who have a bachelor’s degree might also be eligible for other types of benefits, such as employee assistance programs. As ultrasound technicians are not licensed or certified in all states, many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement or signing bonuses to attract the best talent.
As an ultrasound tech, you will help patients who suffer from heart disease and may even save lives. You will also be working closely with physicians who are making medical decisions. As there is a growing demand for sonographers, you will have good job prospects and the potential to earn competitive wages.
8. What Are the Skills Needed to Become an Ultrasound Tech?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers look for techs with good communication skills, attention to detail, and manual dexterity. You will need to be able to spend long hours standing or on your feet and prioritize tasks when needed. In addition, you will be working both independently and collaboratively with other healthcare professionals.
9. Do I Need a License to Become an Ultrasound Tech?
Ultrasound technologists do not need a license in all states. However, some employers may require licensure or certification before hiring you as a sonographer. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers certification exams for sonographers. As of May 2010, the exam has two parts- a written section and a practical test that requires you to perform real-life imaging on manikins.10. Top Recruiting Companies for Ultrasound Techs
- General Dynamics Health Solutions
- Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.
- Philips Healthcare
- Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
- Terason Ultrasound
- Acclarent, Inc.
- SonoSite, Inc., a division of Fujifilm Corporation
- Mindray Medical International Limited
- General Electric Company
- McKesson Corporation
10. Best Colleges to Study Ultrasound Techs
Many colleges offer degrees in sonography.
If you’re interested in a career as an ultrasound technician, it may be worth considering attending one of these schools:
- University of Colorado Boulder (Bachelor of Science degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography);
- Western Kentucky University (Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Certificate Program);
- Penn State College of Medicine (Diagnosis and Management of Vascular Disease using Ultrasound);
- Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies – Master’s Degree Program for Registered Nurses who wish to specialize as a diagnostic medical sonographer;
- Clemson University- Bachelor‘s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
- Eastern Washington U – Associate degree program
Ultrasound technology is a fascinating field with many applications. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as an ultrasound technician, there are several things you need to do:
- Research the different types of ultrasound machines and their uses.
- Get certified by an accredited organization such as ARDMS or CCI.
- Get experience working in a clinical setting under the supervision of a registered sonographer.
With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goal of becoming an ultrasound technician.