The 411 on Ultrasound Technicians
Alternate Title(s): Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Ultrasonographer, Ultrasound Technologist.
|Salary Range: $43,000 - $80,000 +|
|Employment Prospects: Excellent|
|Advancement Prospects: Good|
|Best geographical locations: NY pays the highest wages|
Education or Training - 1 to 4 years leading to certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's. Career shifters from one health care occupation to another - 1 year program is sufficient.
|Experience - Experience working or volunteering in a health care helpful|
Special Skills: Have the ability to make patients feel safe and comfortable. Good communication skills.
Special Requirements: Voluntary certification is available through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
ultrasound tech Career
Ultrasonography requires direct contact with patients, so it's important for a technician to have strong people skills so that they can communicate effectively with any patients that come in for testing. An ultrasound may be ordered for any number of diseases and conditions, and because of this the patient may be stressed or worried. It's up to the ultrasound technician to calm these fears so that the patients has as relaxing an experience as possible.
At the mention of the word ultrasound, most people immediately begin thinking of a pregnant mother and a small black and white image of a baby on a monitor. This has historically been the most common use of ultrasound technology, but these days ultrasound technicians are needed for a lot of different purposes besides prenatal care. The technology is often used for abdominal diagnosis, such as in cases of spleen, liver or kidney diseases, brain trauma, and heart complications. Ultrasound technician careers are considered to be safer than those of x-ray technicians with no risk of radiation exposure.
Ultrasound technicians are often called to perform several different duties, and these may include:
Workplaces and Salaries
Most ultrasound technicians work in hospitals and it involves to working day, evening or night shifts and possible some weekends. They may also have to be available on call.
Many sonographers also work in physician's offices, medical diagnostic and imaging labs, health clinics and other emergency clinics.
As with any medical field, the average salary for an ultrasound technician varies depending on the place of employment. According to the US Dept. of Labor the average salary is circa $57,000 per year for an ultrasound technician. Salaries typically range from $43,600 to $80,000 per year. The highest paid diagnostic ultrasound technicians earn close to $83,000 - these typically have other allied heath care credentials therefore earning more than those without these extra credentials.
Training in diagnostic medical sonography is offered through hospitals, colleges, universities, technician schools and the armed forces. The programs offered are: hospital certificates, two-year associate's and four year bachelor's degree. Most ultrasound technicians enter the field after completing an associate's degree in diagnostic medical sonography. There are over 70 accredited training programs that are approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the United States.
Ideally would be diagnostic medical sonographers are required to have either a bachelor's or an associate's degree in healthcare before beginning their training. Once this degree is attained, students can go on to complete a two year course in sonography, graduating with either a bachelor's or associate's degree in that field. If you want to, you can extend your ultrasound technician training into specialized fields through certification courses. These fields require more training but will result in a higher salary.
The ultrasound technician is a fast-growing occupation expected to grow faster than other health allied professions over the next decade.
Tip: Most employers prefer potential employees to be registered. Make sure you get your certification after completing a medical diagnostic sonography program.
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References & Further Information:
Bureau of Labour Statistics - www.bls.gov
Society of Medical Sonography - www.sdms.org