Ultrasound Technician

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician
Ultrasound Technician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Ultrasound Technicians
Ultrasound Technician Salary
Influential Professionals in the Ultrasound Technician Field
Leading Ultrasound Technician Organizations
Top Cities for Ultrasound Technician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound Technicians may train in vocational-technical schools, hospitals, colleges, the armed forces and universities. However all institutes of learning need to be recognized by the relevant authorities (such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers). There are various courses available depending on specific intended career ambitions. One-year programs are available for health care workers which will result in the issue of a certificate of qualification in the skill. Keep in mind that this is for members that already have a history and some experience in medical care.

Tertiary education systems such as Colleges and universities also offer two or four-year courses resulting in associate's or bachelor's degrees, again these are dependant on career goal orientations. The most common programs in this field are a Two-year program, with subjects including physiology, instrumentation, anatomy, basic physics, medical ethics and patient care.

The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers certifies a high level of competency through registration. This requires not merely registration but the successful completion of a general physics and instrumentation exam, including a specialization section, such as abdominal or neurosonography and OB/GYN.

In order for the registration and therefore the right to practice to remain valid a member must complete 30 hours per year of continued learning. Failure to do so will result in de-registration and re-application.

What does an Ultrasound Technician do?

An ultrasound technician works predominantly in hospitals and physician offices and clinics. Ultrasound is most commonly associated with pregnancy however presently diagnostic medical sonography is used to scan everything in the human body including the nervous system, tumors, digestive system, blood vessels, and even the eyes. The medical profession is starting to more openly prefer ultrasound to other diagnostic scanning techniques (such as radiographic technology, or x-rays) due to its ability to capture such detailed images and more importantly the safety of this non-invasive technology.

In a day to day example a small but important part of their job is to obtain and record accurate patient history, after which they make use of the specialized equipment, such as a transducer that directs high-frequency sound waves into the body tissues to produce images of structures inside the body, whether it be muscle bone or other tissues. The image can reveal them all to help physicians diagnose and treat patients. Technicians also analyze the technical information and write reports and may even have to provide oral reports of these findings to physicians to use in diagnosis.

Ultrasound or sonogram technicians use very expensive very high tech instruments called transducers. The machines transmit high frequency sound waves into specific areas of the patient, depending on the required analysis, i.e. heart reproductive organs etc. As the sound waves bounce off the targeted body part or organ, similar to submarine sonar, their echoes are captured by specialized equipment that converts them into analyzable visual images. The images are then studied by an ultrasound technician via digital imaging.

There are several specialties that fall under the umbrella of ultrasound technician, for example they may specialize in neurosonography, echocardiography, abdominal, OB GYN, and ophthalmology.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Ultrasound Technician?

Due to the nature of this job, challenging science, math and English courses in high school would be essential, An all round interest in the body or health care will help, with a possible study history of biology.

Along with the required patience is good communication skills and interpersonal skills as both are essential to working with people in general, however when working with the sick and the injured it is even more important to be understanding and helpful, therefore a high level of interpersonal skills is required

How much does an Ultrasound Technician make?

There are different salaries based on the fact that one could work in different sectors of the medical profession as well as there being a relationship between years of experience and salary. According to labor statistics the average an ultrasound technician can earn is $48,660, others sources say it's between $32,470 and $52,750, with the top professional earning near $70,000.

There is also a difference between hospital and physician offices, with the salaries being $47,530 and $50,390 respectively. Others report that with the diagnostic skills you obtain through ultrasound training, you can earn an average of up to $29 per hour.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

David Berry - Director of Radiology - Medical College of Georgia

Johnson Lightfoote, MD, MBA - Medical Director of Radiology - Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

Volker Hoffmann, MD - Partner/Owner - Diagnostic Imaging Center

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography and The American registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are both major institutions in the industry with information and support to all interested parties.

What are the top cities for Ultrasound Technician jobs?

With health care expanding in all developing countries and constant improvements in new technology in the medical industry the need for ultrasound technicians is one of the fastest expanding industries in health care and is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the coming years. This job growth is also driven by the aging of the population, and with the reduction in production costs of equipment. There is an increasing demand for diagnostic imaging, and the desire of patients and doctors to use alternatives to the more risky radiological procedures is higher then ever.

Job opportunities in the United States are great, and with all major cities having more then several major hospitals and countless private physicians the opportunities are everywhere, but although hospitals will continue to be the primary employer of ultrasound technicians' employment will grow more rapidly in physicians' offices and diagnostic centers.

China has a major aging population and there economic growth and social government will lead to them investing more and more in their health care and therefore an expansion of this field in many areas.

All developed well established countries with high standards of health care.

Hospitals will continue to be the primary employer of ultrasound technicians, but employment will grow more rapidly in physicians' offices and diagnostic centers.

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