An ultrasound technician (aka sonographer) is a specialist who operates medical technology that is used to create images of the inner body through the use of ultrasound.
Ultrasound technicians are often used to detect abnormalities or changes within the body which may go unnoticed or be difficult to detect without the use of medical imaging equipment.
They are also commonly used to observe the health of an unborn child during pregnancy as ultrasound technology is able to show an unborn child in real-time which allows the doctor, nurses and parents to observe how the child is developing in the womb.
These specialists may choose to focus their career on a particular field of health care or in multiple areas of health care such as breast cancer screenings, cardiac care, gynecology, pregnancy, abdominal sonography or a host of other areas that can benefit from the use of ultrasound and medical imaging technology.
As the name suggests ultrasound technology uses sound waves to create an image of the inner body which allows the doctor, nurses and patients to observe what is going on inside of them.
Ultrasound works by sending an oscillating sound wave directly through the subjects tissue and measuring the time it takes the sound wave to return in order to determine the distance, size, shape, movement, location and angle of an object.
The continuous oscillating frequency allows the host to monitor real-time changes in the subject such as using ultrasound to watch an infant move within its mothers womb.
The information that is gathered from the ultrasound is displayed on a monitor as a live visual feed so that the information can be observed and provide to the doctor, nurses and patient with the information the need to make the best health care decisions possible.
Becoming an ultrasound technician
If you are interested in becoming an ultrasound technician you must first complete a two or four-year associates or bachelors sonography/ultrasound technician program at an accredited college or university.
Those who have previous experience in health care may choose to apply for a 1 year accelerated program.
In order to begin working as an ultrasound technician you must obtain your certification which you can earn either through the college you’ve chosen or by taking an exam through an organization such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (AART).
In terms of salary ultrasound technicians that work in the United States can expect earn anywhere from $40,000 – $80,000 per year depending on their experience, position, state of residence and negotiated salary.
4 Steps for becoming an ultrasound technician
1) The first step towards becoming an ultrasound technician begins with earning either your diploma or GED since most ultrasound technician programs require students to have at least their GED before allowing them to gain acceptance into the program.
2) After obtaining your degree you’ll then want to look for a qualified ultrasound technician program.
There are a number of programs that are available and may be offered by a local college or university, hospital or vocational school among other educational institutes and health care organizations.
In order to make sure you are choosing a qualified program you may want to make sure the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program or CAAHEP.
Some colleges or universities may require potential ultrasound technician students to complete a number of prerequisites before allowing them to take part in the ultrasound technician program so check with the school you are interested in applying for in order to find out what requirement’s they may have.
3) Upon successful completion of the ultrasound technician program students will need to take an exam in order to acquire their certification so they can begin working as a qualified ultrasound technician.
Students may be able to find certification exams offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Solography (ARDMS) or by the American Registry of Radiology Technologists (AART).
4) After obtaining your certification you can begin polishing up your resume and start looking for a job as a certified ultrasound technician.