Ultrasound Technicians also known as Sonographers are skilled in diagnostic imaging. You may have seen pictures of babies that are still in the mother’s womb. These are commonly done by ultrasound. The Ultrasound Technician uses a wand of sorts to send and receive sound waves. The “echo” that returns to the wand provides the picture that is then read by the computer.
Besides its use in pregnancy, Ultrasound can also be used to help diagnose and assess various medical conditions. It could be used in gynecology as well as in cardiology, abdominally, in studying the nervous system, or in breast diagnosis. And because of the non invasive manner of this type of diagnostic imaging, it is considered safer and more comfortable. After return of the image, it can be photographed, transmitted, or videotaped.
The varied areas of study that can be accessed by ultrasound and the ease with use give this method of medical imaging a promising future. It is definitely worthy of first rate recognition. Ultrasound Technicians can visually search for areas of concern in the region of the body being studied and then analyze and prepare results for the physician. Working directly with patients means that “good people skills” is a plus.
You could specialize in certain areas of study or you could cross the lines which would likely improve your standing in the field. You would have more specialists from different zones of medicine that would need your service. This could potentially give you more work and more money. You might work at one healthcare facility or as noted above, it is possible to travel to a variety of settings. In this way you could use your experience to help more people and have more jobs available to you. Of course in this case you would be an independent contractor and would likely have mobile imaging equipment which you would travel with. Then again you may have to work evening and weekend hours or be on call to work on short notice.
Although there is not any state licensure required to practice as an Ultrasound Technician, employers do usually prefer for you to have formal education in the field. Also if you are formally registered as a Sonographer, employers will be more inclined to appreciate your professional standing. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography will certify you as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer if you pass their exam. This credential would have to be obtained for each of your specialty areas of Sonography. In addition, continuing education is absolutely necessary to keep your registration but it would be needed to stay up to date with the changes that are expected in diagnostic imaging anyway.
Colleges and universities offer both 2 year and 4 year programs in diagnostic medical sonography. This means that you can get either an associate degree or a bachelor’s. Accreditation is possible through these programs or even through some of the hospital programs.
Over all there are a lot of opportunities for Ultrasound Technicians out there. Formal education is not required but is recommended. The job offers a variety of experiences and is generally satisfying. However, it will require a continued growing knowledge of the field. How much money you can expect to earn as an ultrasound technician greatly varies on many variables. The average annual ultrasound technician income will depend on schooling, location, job experience, job demand and place of employment. Promotions will change yearly income, whether it be hourly pay or yearly salary.