Learn About Being an Ultrasound Technician in 2023
There are many different Ultrasound Technician (UST) jobs available in the medical industry. However, the process of becoming an UST is very similar. You will need to complete a four-year degree in ultrasound technology, and pass a residency program. After you have completed your residency, you will then be able to submit an application for a UST job.
The job market for ultrasounds technicians is constantly changing, so it is important to keep up with the latest trends. You also need to be prepared for a challenging career. The job market for ultrasounds technicians is unpredictable, and there can be many changes in the next few years. Keep up with the latest trends and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
What is Ultrasound Technician?
Ultrasound Technician (UST) is a professional certification that covers the use of ultrasound with specific medical purposes. Ultrasound Technician generally refers to those who have completed an ultrasonography program and are now certified as Ultrasound Technicians. The process of becoming a UST begins with completing an ultrasonography program, which typically lasts three years. After successfully completing the program, Ultrasound Technicians then must pass an ultrasound examination and a residency exam in order to become a certified ultrasound specialist.
What does an ultrasound technician do?
An ultrasound technician is a health care professional who works with patients and doctors to help diagnose illnesses of the internal organs. Also known as diagnostic medical technicians or sonographers, these health care professionals use ultrasound equipment that emits sound waves to produce digital images of the body. It is possible to specialize in cardiac, breast, vascular, obstetric or gynecologic ultrasonography.
An ultrasound technician will perform the following duties:
Ensure that the equipment and clinic room is clean and ready to receive patients
Use the ultrasound equipment to record images of the appropriate organ
Write a report for each patient and outline any abnormalities as appropriate
Ensure that this report is delivered to the appropriate physician
Assist in various procedures, including ultrasound-guided biopsies and vascular work-ups
Abide by the ethical and confidentiality regulations of the institution and state
Ultrasound Technician salary
ultrasonography technicians are in high demand and the median wage for ultrasonography technicians is $87,000. The current job market for ultrasonography technicians is expect to grow by 20% between 2020 and 2024. With this increase in demand, ultrasonography technicians are in high demand and can make a good salary. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when looking for a career as an ultrasonography technician.
Ultrasound technicians can work in hospitals and clinics and be full or part time. The private sector typically pays higher salaries, with the specialization, location and size of the employer also impacting pay rates.
Common salary in the U.S.: $$671 per week
Some salaries range from $200 to $3,000 per week.
Ultrasound technician requirements
An ultrasound technician is a health care professional who requires a variety of educational qualifications, skills and training to have a successful career:
The direct route to becoming an ultrasound technician is to gain an associate of science degree in diagnostic medical sonography. The program takes two years of study, and it must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students learn how to record images using the latest sonographic equipment.
Classes generally include patient care, human anatomy and physiology, the theory of sonography physics, the types of pathologies that can be accurately diagnosed and sonography specializations including gynecological, abdominal and cardiac options. Practical work provides students with the skills to cooperate with physicians and work with patients. There are usually options to accrue on-the-job practical experience, known as clinical hours, through internships. Internships are between three and six months in duration and form part of the educational program.
If you already hold the appropriate education in another health field, such as an associate of science degree in allied health, or a bachelor of science, then you may be able to enter into the field with the addition of the one-year certification outlined below.
Each new job you have as an ultrasound technician will have a period dedicated to your training called an induction period. Hospitals and clinics may specialize in the type of patient they see, so your patient sector and variety of pathologies could vary by job. A pediatric oncology clinic will see different problems and patients than a gynecology clinic. Your on-the-job training will prepare you for taking sonographies in your new role.
On-the-job training for a new ultrasound technician will also cover information about the management of the hospital or clinic that employs you. This could include the values, opportunities and methodologies that they use. You will also need to receive training with health and safety, managing patient notes and files, the procedures for reporting findings, the appointment system and how to report equipment failure or maintenance needs.
Ultrasound technicians are not legally required to be licensed, however, in a competitive job market, a candidate that holds certification and licensure will be more desirable. Many employers look for the following certifications:
Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification
This certification is offered and accredited by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). To qualify for this certification, you must sit the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) examination. This certification covers sonography of the abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography and obstetrics and gynecology. If you wish to specialize further, you can take a specialty exam in cardiac sonography and earn the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) certification. Specialty certificates are available for the musculoskeletal system, vascular system and midwives. The certification shows employers that you are competent to create high-quality images that will aid patient diagnostics and the provision of quality patient care.
Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
Employers will frequently specify that you must hold this certification, especially if you work at a hospital. You will learn basic resuscitation techniques. It is offered by the American Heart Association and there are teaching centers nationwide. The certification is valid for two years.
Some of the skills that you will need to be a successful ultrasound technician include:
Critical thinking: You will have to use your judgment and critical thinking when you encounter a situation that you have not been briefed on, and seek advice as needed.
Active listening: Before performing the sonography procedures on patients, you will need to listen carefully and pay attention to patients as they are describing their problems. You must then accurately write the information in their case notes.
Attention to detail: You must pay attention to the images that you are seeing on the screen to ensure that you collect the correct ones to assist the physician with a diagnosis.
Hand-eye coordination: You must be able to guide the sonography equipment around the patient’s body while watching a screen to monitor the internal organs and record high-quality images.
Ultrasound technician work environment
Ultrasound technicians have a hands-on, patient-facing role. Generally, patients will be seen in a private consultation room, but occasionally the ultrasound equipment will be brought into a multi-patient ward to help with an urgent diagnosis. There will be an office that is likely shared with other members of the team to complete administrative tasks.
An ultrasound technician will see the following environmental characteristics in their role:
Prolonged periods of standing and walking
Repeated actions that include bending and reaching
Lifting equipment that can weigh up to 50 pounds
Communicating, both written and verbal, with patients and other members of the team
How to become an ultrasound technician
Following these steps will help you to start a career as an ultrasound technician:
Pursue education. You will need an Associate of Science degree to become an ultrasound technician. Look at job openings in your area to determine requirements. Some employers may require that you have a bachelor’s degree.
Build up clinical hours. You will undertake a minimum of three months of clinical work with patients. Log as many hours as you can with a wide variety of patient concerns. Employers will be more impressed with the more clinical experience that you have.
Obtain a certification. It is not required, but a certification shows that you are a candidate with a deep theoretical and practical knowledge of sonography and are someone worth employing.
Apply for jobs as an ultrasound technician. Find out which positions you are qualified for locally. Even if employers require a certain amount of experience, you could be successful if you hold a certification. Tailor your resume to fit each job and include all your relevant qualifications and experience.
Ultrasound technician job description example
The Firs Clinic is driven to provide the highest-quality patient care, and we pride ourselves on being a regional leader. We are looking for a dedicated ultrasound technician to join our growing team. You must be as dedicated to patient service as we are and understand the importance of our core values of compassion, innovation and integrity. We can offer you an impressive range of benefits and opportunities to progress in your career.
The essential responsibilities of the ultrasound technician include:
Confirm relevant clinical information with patients and review notes and charts
Carry out sonography procedures on patients as directed by the clinical team
Create reports with findings and distribute these as appropriate
Maintain the clinic room and equipment, ensure that any repairs necessary are carried out as appropriate
Skills and abilities:
A high degree of knowledge of the theory, techniques and operation of sonography equipment and the ability to optimize images
You must understand the principles of ALARA radiation safety
We are a team, but you must be able to work independently and with minimal supervision
Accuracy and calm demeanor are essential
At least three years of experience in a similar role
Basic Life Support certification