Ultrasound Technician: Is It the Career for You?

Diagnostic imaging is used by the medical profession to find and diagnose medical conditions. Although doctors opt to use both X-rays and sonography on a daily basis, sometimes it is not possible to use radiology for medical or financial reasons. This is just one reason why ultrasound technology is gaining in popularity, meaning technicians have a secure future when it comes to employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this occupation will grow by 46% between 2012 and 2022. Working as an ultrasound technician means that you can expect promising job opportunities and a competitive salary as well. The BLS estimates that the annual median pay of ultrasound technicians in 2012 was $60,350. Below is information you can use to decide whether becoming an ultrasound technician is a smart career choice for you.

Job Description

An ultrasound technician scans a patient's body using ultrasound equipment. This equipment uses sound waves to obtain images of body parts. These images are then used by doctors to diagnose possible medical conditions. The technician has to make sure that the images are clear, precise, and relevant for the procedures being considered.

In addition to collecting images, ultrasound technicians are responsible for talking directly to patients and updating medical histories. Anyone who wants to work in this medical career has to be friendly, professional, compassionate, patient, and methodical as well. You must be willing to help both patients and doctors on a day-to-day basis. Also, understand that your place of employment will most likely be in a hospital, doctor's office, medical lab, university, or outpatient care center.

Requirements

There are only two states that require licensing when it comes to ultrasound technicians: Oregon and New Mexico. However, it will be hard to find employment unless you have passed an accredited program. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is the main organization responsible for accrediting ultrasound technician programs.

You can pursue an associate or bachelor's degree, but your salary will be based on your experience, education, and geographical location. To be considered for an ultrasound technician program, you should have some type of background in subjects such as algebra and physics. Once in the program, expect to take courses such as physiology, physics, and anatomy. The general steps to receive a higher salary are to pass an accredited program and receive certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.