The human body is made up of complex structures that make accurate diagnosis of ailments and treatment challenging. To address this, medical researchers continuously introduce advanced medical imaging techniques to examine every body part and structure differently. However, doctors or general practitioners are not masters of all and require specialized professionals to assist them through the diagnosis process.
Ultrasound Technicians, often called Medical Diagnostic Sonographers, work with healthcare professionals, doctors, and medical officers to assist them in pain-free medical imaging. Where this non-invasive technique examines traces of cancer or tumors, cysts, and other disorders, it also helps healthcare professionals to create images of unborn babies.
This article explains how to secure a career in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) field.
Where to Begin When Choosing the Ultrasound Technician Field?
The ultrasound technician is emerging as a promising career with increased application, high demand for experts, and competitive salary. Not just this, but to enter the DMS field, you do not require a five-year medical degree. A recognized associate degree, hands-on practical experience, and theoretical understanding pave the way.
The next section entails four mandatory steps for “how to become an ultrasound technician” while covering certifications, training, examinations, and other requirements you might need to excel.
- Get Your High School Diploma
The prerequisite for becoming an ultrasound technician requires a high school diploma. There are multiple ways to get this diploma, including enrollment in the medical field or medical imaging courses in any recognized school or college. You can also take a high school proficiency test through the country’s educational department-approved centers.
- Earn an Accredited Degree
Securing a high school diploma is just the beginning of stepping into the medical imaging field. You will also require an accredited degree, which can be earned from any recognized institution, to increase your chances of becoming an ultrasound technician.
Some colleges offer associate degrees of around 15 0 21 months that equip students to qualify for licensing DMS test. It includes a wide range of sub-courses such as counting anatomy, algebra, medical terminology, pharmacology, physiology, healthcare laws, psychology, and echocardiography.
- Become a Certified Ultrasound Technician
After completing your accredited degree in DMS, the next step is to get a professional ultrasound technician certificate. The process involves successfully excelling in the mandatory examinations taken by ARRT or other affiliated credentialing organizations. This test will require you to show grip and expertise in both theoretical and practical applications of sonography.
- Earn your Practical Expertise
Sonography involves completely practical techniques. Therefore, you should understand the functionalities of ultrasound sounds, performing different diagnoses, and storing results in the required formats. This also includes patient comfortability protocols, communication tactics, and Quality Control (QC) standards. After learning all these, you can appear and score good marks in the practical exams and externships.
Responsibilities of Ultrasound Technicians
Individuals opting to pursue careers as ultrasound technicians must understand that their responsibilities go beyond understanding machines and their operations. They extend to ensuring patient safety, comfort, and accurate diagnosis. They also perform required examinations to help healthcare professionals, doctors, and surgeons detect disorders in specific human body parts for precise treatments.
In addition to performing sonography scans, ultrasound technicians ensure that Quality Control (QC) standards and legal procedures are followed. Furthermore, obtaining accurate results, creating medical histories, saving results under the right name, and maintaining patient records also add to the responsibilities of sonographers.
Ultrasound technicians perform different roles depending on their qualifications, clinical expertise, and practical experience. These include:
- Cardiac Sonographers
These professionals examine heart-related disorders leading to complex cardiac conditions and organ dysfunctionality. Cardiac sonographers capture real-time images of chambers, blood vessels, and walls to assist doctors or general physicians diagnose chronic or acute ailments.
- Abdominal Sonographers
The ultrasound technicians responsible for abdominal examinations perform a non-invasive procedure to diagnose disorders within internal structures such as the gallbladder, spleen, liver, bile ducts, pancreas, and aorta of the abdomen. They then capture and store results to help doctors execute accurate treatment.
- Pediatric Sonographers
One of the most widely used techniques is pediatric sonography and its experts examine children’s health as they develop in the mother’s womb. Pediatric sonographers identify fetal development problems that threaten the life of both the child and its bearer. These ultrasound technicians also help doctors diagnose disorders in infants and young children and identify the cause of pain in pelvic, scrotal, abdominal, and other organs.
Why Choose the Ultrasound Technician Profession?
Ultrasound technician careers are one of the highly sought-after professions, offering competitively high starting stipends. The DMS skills and training share many similarities with other medical imaging techniques, creating opportunities for a career shift or advancement. Furthermore, long-term job security, increasing demand for experts, and emerging healthcare diagnostic trends are sure to keep the ultrasound technician profession under spotlight for many more years to come.
The ease of completing an associate degree, gaining hands-on practical experience, and completing certification exams in a duration of less than two years has made this career a priority. Hence, you can enter the vast field of medical imaging after a short training and theoretical education.
(please design an image that aligns with this section and include the statistics mentioned below – Salary Insights and Demand for Experts)
- Salary Insights
According to Zippia’s 2023 wage statistics, the overall average salary for ultrasound technicians in the USA is $84,702 per annum, with a median hourly stipend rate of $40.72. Narrowing it down to Indiana, on average, sonographers earn $95,287 yearly, while $45.81 is an hourly rate for delivering their expertise.
- High Demand for Experts
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that ultrasound technician jobs are projected to grow by a whopping 10% by 2031, which is relatively faster growth than other medical imaging occupations.
While considering Indiana, it falls among the top 10 regions with high demand for sonographers. Increased demand for ultrasound technicians represents more jobs and long-term security.
Where Does Stellar Career College Step in?
Stellar Career College is an Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) approved associate degree and diploma awarding institution. We offer a wide range of medical imaging specialization courses, which also include Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (DMS). After enrolling in our 90-quarter credit hour course, you can qualify as an ultrasound technician with applicable practical and theoretical skills.