Ultrasound technicians are professionals who control ultrasound machines. These machines are used for creating images of blood vessels, internal organs and the issues for interpretation and analysis by the medical professionals for diagnosing diseases and ailments. Ultrasound technicians use the machine for tracking the growth and development of fetus in the womb.
The ultrasound technician uses the machine for detecting medical conditions of a patient through images generated by sound waves. The ultrasound jobs include other applications like abdominal sonography, ophthalmologic sonography and neurosonography.
Primary duties of the ultrasound technician job involve the following:
1.Offering details of the procedure and explaining what can be expected to the patient
2.Proper handling of the medical equipments
3.Keeping record of the patient’s medical history
4.Maintenance and safe keeping of the equipments
5.Assisting the patients for getting the best images
6.Keeping a track record of the patients
7.Offering clear and best images to the doctors to help in proper diagnosis
8.Preparing charts for work schedules
According to the reports published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a large number of technicians are working as health care professionals in the US. Most of them are associated with hospitals and rests of them are employed as private practitioners in the diagnostic imaging centers.
Ultrasound Technician Training:
Getting a job in this field largely depends on the qualifications, specializations and skills of an individual. In order to become an ultrasound technician one has to go through training in the field of diagnostic medical sonography choosing any of the following alternatives:
Training from vocational institutions
Training from hospitals
Training from armed forces
Training offered by the university or college programs which ranges between 2-4 years
The formal training programs which are offered are accredited by Commission on Accreditation for allied Health Education Programs. You are not required to possess license while working as an ultrasound technician in the US. There are organizations like American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers that offer certificates. Candidates are required to clear a general examination as well as specialty examination for registering with the ARDMS.
Ultrasound Technician Degree/Ultrasound Certificate:
Those who are looking for an ultrasound technician degree must follow the simple steps laid down below:
In the first step you need to choose a field in which you want to specialize. The Neurosonography, cardiac sonography, gynecologic sonography are some options which you can choose. Take up a field in which you have interest, this will help you to remain motivated through out the course.
In the next step you need to select and enroll yourself with a degree program. You can choose a 4 years bachelor’s degree from a reputed university or a 2 years associate’s degree from a technical school or college. There are online courses offered by the Everest Institute & Western Career College, the Sanford Brown College, and the Argosy University in which you can enroll yourself.
After successfully completing the course, you can take up courses in the field of sonography, medical terminology, biology, laboratory classes and anatomy.
Gain practical knowledge and training as an ultrasound technician. There is internship as well as externship opportunities offered by different kinds of clinics.
In the final step you need to clear the National Certificate Examination. The ARDMS or American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers conducts this exam. To receive the credentials the students must pass the 2 comprehensive examinations as well as the specialty examinations.
There are a number of leading institutions offering courses on ultrasound. Make sure the schools with which you enroll are certified by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs. Some of the very reputed schools are:
St. Vincent’s Schools of Medical Science situated in Florida offers a 1-2 years of certificate program. Students of ultrasound can specialize in vascular sonography, physics and instrumentation, obstetric, gynecological, vascular physics. Students are required to have a basic associate’s degree in the field of health care or hold certificate as a radiologic technologist. Some of the other prerequisites are completion of coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, algebra, physiology and physics.
Hillsborough Community College offers associate degree in which students can enroll themselves for classes in mathematics, physics and anatomy. The students who are enrolled in the program can undertake courses in the field of gynecological sonography, abdominal ultrasound, psychology and obstetrics. Students also have the option of going through the mini internship programs offered by the community college. The students get opportunity of participating in the federal and state financial aided programs.
Central Florida Institute is a non profit organization with campuses in Tampa Bay area and Orlando. An associate degree in science takes less than 2 years of full time course. The curriculum includes neurosonography, obstetric ultrasound techniques, gynecological, and abdominal techniques. The students enrolling themselves for the courses are required to undertake drug test. The Florida institute guides students with interview preparation, writing resumes, networking opportunities and career management.
Miami Dade College is one of the largest post-secondary educational institutions in the US. The students are required to pass an entrance examination as well as complete classes in physics, biology, algebra and composition. It is a 2 years course which offers 6 clinical rotations and classes in gynecological, abdominal, cardiac, neurological and Doppler ultrasound.
Online Ultrasound Schools:
In the wake of internet technology, there are a number of reputed schools offering health related online degree programs. Those who aspire to become an ultrasound technician can enroll themselves with the online clinical training programs. After completing the training programs, the students can enroll themselves with the certification exams. Some of the popular online courses from which you can choose are:
The online degree courses in the field of medical assistance offered by Kaplan University allow the students to undertake different functions in the medicinal field as an ultrasound technician. The online degree program offers “hands-on work experience” which helps the student pass certificate courses and get themselves placed in healthcare institutions and hospitals.
The online bachelor degree courses offered by South University in the field of health sciences prepare students for the role of an ultrasound technician. The curriculum stresses on building proper foundation in science and math. The online training program prepares the student for entry level positions. The South University is certified by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Students can enroll themselves with the online associate’s degree in the field of medical sciences through the Rasmussen College. The online non-critical medical procedures, curriculum in science and anatomy prepare students for entry level positions as an ultrasound technician in hospitals and care centers. Students are required to study as an intern in any of the hospitals to qualify for the certificate program. The Rasmussen College is certified by Higher Learning Commission. It is one of the members of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.
Ultrasound Technician Salary:
The salary of the ultrasound technician tends to vary depending on the level of experience and education of the individual. According to the Salary & Benefits Survey report published in the year 2007, the salary of an ultrasound technician varies from $50,000 to $65,000. The salary structure of the technicians included: on call pay, overtime as well as the hourly salary. The hourly wages for these professionals is about $30/hr. The flexible options in the job allow the technicians to work on both part time as well as full time positions.
The salary of the ultrasound technician depends on factors which are stated below:
Individuals completing the certified program of ARDMS or American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography can expect to earn a decent amount of salary. It is a certificate program which one can opt for after completing the education and clinical training.
Experience counts. The salary of ultrasound technicians is largely based on the experience as well as the position. Those at the entry level earn half the amount earned by the chief technologists, the managers and those positioned in the senior levels.
Specialists like echocardiography (heart), neurosonology (spinal cord and brain), and obstetrics earn a lot more.
According to the ASRT or the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the technicians who work with doctors in their offices earn about $ 62,014. It was more or less the same amount earned by the technicians working with nonprofit hospitals as well. Those who were associated with for-profit hospitals earn around $ 60,606.
The hospitals still continue to be the largest employer of the ultrasound technicians. However today, we find rapid growth in the demand for such technicians in the government facilities as well. Those who are considering a career in this field will definitely benefit from the job security, excellent pay and other advantages associated with it. With the excellent salary it offers, the job of an ultrasound technician has become one of the best options in the health care field.