Ultrasound Technician: a rewarding career
An ultrasound technician, also called a medical Sonographer, is an expert in the application of ultrasonography. A highly technical position in the medical field, a sonographer is trained in the use of an ultrasound machine, and places a traducer at various angles, positions, and areas of the body to produce images of the body.
The transducer sends a stream of high frequency sound waves into the tissues and forms imagery of the structures inside. The sounds are analyzed by a computer and the images are visualized on a monitor. Physicians use these images to diagnose disease or conditions that are related to illness experienced by patients.
What do Ultrasound Technicians do?
An ultrasound technician has extensive contact with patients who range from healthy to critically ill. Ultrasound applications are usually painless procedures that are considered “patient friendly.” Compassionate people seeking medical careers that involve patient interaction flourish in the ultrasound field.
The responsibilities of an ultrasound technologist include:
• Recording patient history and medical information
• Following a physicians orders and performing the diagnostic procedures
• Analyzing highly technical information
• Using critical thinking to assess and perform diagnostic images
• Define an oral or written summary of the diagnostic findings
• Assist patients with care during the procedure
• Collaboration with other healthcare professionals.
A Demanding Field of the Future
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), by 2030, people aged 65 and over will constitute 20 percent of the total U.S. population. The services of ultrasound technology will continue to be in demand by medical facilities in the future due to fact that most fields of medicine rely on imaging examinations for diagnostic information. Sonographers are integral members of the healthcare team and many specialize in different areas of the sonography field.
What are the requirements to become ultrasound technician?
Sonography tech programs can be found at community colleges, technical and vocation schools, and at some universities. Formal education is necessary for this highly specialized field, and most employers prefer an ultrasound tech to possess a state certification. Although one year certificate programs are available, the most common degree ultrasound technicians obtain is from an associate’s degree program. Bachelor programs are also available in ultrasound technology, and can be found in many universities throughout the country. The course of study typically includes:
• Human anatomy
• Medical terminology
• Interpretation of sonographic images
• Ultrasound equipment and troubleshooting
• Pregnancy and obstetrics
• Disease and pathophysiology
• Computer technology
• Diagnostics and imaging
In addition, students are required to complete a clinical practicum at a teaching hospital. This clinical education component is also a requirement of the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification.
How to find accredited schools?
Look for ultrasound and Sonography schools by state that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). In addition, seek out accredited hospital programs that offer training in ultrasound technology and sonography. These programs are typically affiliated with a vocational, technical, or a community college in the area.
How long should it take to finish ultrasound technician program?
Certificate programs that are accredited by (CAAHEP) can be accomplished in about a year, and depending on the state you choose to work in, many employers prefer to hire ultrasound techs that have professional certification. After the technician becomes certified, he or she may elect to continue an associate or bachelor degree program in the field they are most interested in. Few states require technicians to be licensed, and the certification is a requirement for licensure. Technicians must take continuing education units (CEU) to keep their certification current.
Demand for ultrasound technician services
The healthcare industry will continue to demand people with training in the ultrasound technician profession for many years to come. A career in healthcare provides a valuable service to the community and offers diverse specialty opportunities. The field of ultrasonography offers a stable salary, a comfortable work environment, and a feeling of satisfaction in helping others.