Getting Into Ultrasound Technician Schools

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), ultrasound technician is one of the medical fields that will continue to experience huge growth rates from now thru 2018. The industry is expected to grow by 18% from its current number of practitioners numbering more than 56,000 registered ultrasound technologists.

Because of this, more high school graduates are interested to pursue a career in sonography. What is interesting to note is that the field has not only attracted students but also people who have been in the healthcare industry as well - those who intend to shift to ultrasound technician. Following are information you need to know before you decide whether to pursue this career option or not.

What are the minimum requirements in order to attend an ultrasound technician school?

Like all other courses, students are required to meet at least the basic requirement of schooling, that is, a high school diploma. However, for career shifters who are already working in an allied medical branch and heavily contemplating changing careers, experience in your medical field will help you gain entry into a fast track educational path.

What are the various training options offered in schools today?

Typically, courses can be completed within 6 months for certificate courses, 2-years for associate's degree, and 4-years for bachelor's degree.

Note that regardless of program of study you choose, after finishing your course, you have to complete clinical hours to successfully graduate as an ultrasound technician.

What is the difference between "accredited" ultrasound technician schools and "non-accredited" schools?

Employers are very particular about the schools applicants come from. They prefer that technicians graduate from educational institutions accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Graduating from an accredited school strengthens the graduates' marketing value because this means the school has high standards and offer quality ultrasound technician education as assessed by the accrediting body. Added to this is a school's reputation of producing well-trained and competent graduates.

Most colleges and universities that offer the course are accredited, however, only a handful of vocational institutions are accredited by CAAHEP.

What modes of learning are available for students?

Medical Diagnostic Sonography schools

Because a lot of those who enroll in the course are working students or financially incapable of paying high tuition fee rates, online schools that train students as diagnostic medical sonographers are now plenty. Students may choose whether to attend classes online or on-campus.

Typically, for online classes, topics are forwarded through emails, discussed in forums or discussion boards, and sent as videos or audio files. However, students still need to go to school from time to time to complete their clinical hours requirement.

Regardless of mode of instruction, students typically study the same course curriculum, although the duration and depth of knowledge shared varies depending on the chosen mode of instruction and training option. Likewise, all programs of study require clinic hours as part of the training. Thus, students complete an externship program with hospitals or doctors' clinics.

What are samples of subjects that these schools offer?

Subjects vary depending on the school's actual course curriculum and the program a student is enrolled in.

Most common subjects include:

  • Sonography Introduction
  • Use of Machines
  • Patient Care
  • Human Physiology and Anatomy
  • Physics
  • Medical Law
  • Work Ethics
  • Business ethics

As attested by the BLS, job prospects are indeed favorable considering the government's thrust in improving the benefits of the people, and the healthcare industry in general. Therefore, now is the best time for you to decide whether a career as ultrasound technician is indeed for you. Take advantage of the growing need for sonographers and the opportunities presented for such career.

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References & Further Information:
Bureau of Labour Statistics - www.bls.gov
Society of Medical Sonography - www.sdms.org

Other Titles:

Jobs in this field are often advertised in the classified section of newspapers under headings such as "Diagnostic Medical Sonographer", "Medical Sonographer", "Sonographer", "Health care" or "Health care professional"

Ultrasound Technician Salary

According to the US Department of Labor, diagnostic medical sonographers earned a median annual income of $43,600 in 2011 . See Sonographer Salary for more information.