Before getting to know “How To Become an Ultrasound Technician?”, it’s important we get to know who is an ultrasound technician”. An ultrasound technician is also called a Diagnostic Imaging Sonographer; he inserts a probe one that produces ultrasound waves to obtain digital images of internal organs and tissues such as heart, liver, spleen, blood vessels. These digital images give an acoustic data on the physiology and functioning of these organs and thus can be useful diagnostic techniques. One of the first images of ultrasound technicians is in field of obstetrics, where the ultrasound technician applies a balm and uses the sonography equipment to obtain the digital image of the fetus, upside down in a black and white granular digital image. Ultrasound technicians usually work in medical facilities , hospitals , diagnostic labs and other imaging laboratories.
Now let’s have a look on steps involved to become an Ultrasound Technician
Step 1: Assess yourself if you are prepared by acknowledging duties Ultrasound Technician.
Step 2: Obtain an academic qualification in Sonography Program, one that’s accredited by CAAHEP.
Step 3: Choose specialization, Graduate, and obtain Certificate of Completion.
Step 4: Prepare for licensing programs and national certification programs such as ARDMS exams.
Step 5: Attend training programs (Optional), Apply for suitable vacancies and qualify.
Now let’s have a detailed outlook on each of the above steps:-
1) Assessment and Acknowledgement :-
Before deciding on a career of an Ultrasound technician, it’s important you assess yourself by asking the right questions and reveal if this is the career you really want. Some questions you may want to ask include
Steps Involved For Career in Ultrasound Technician
- Do you mind having close physical contact with people?
- Do you have good Interpersonal and Communicative skills?
- Are you equipped to handle equipments skillfully?
- Do you have an analytical and reasoning mind?
- Do you want to help people by choosing a career in field of medicine?
If your answer is YES to all the above questions then you are a good candidate to pursue sonography as a career option.
Ultrasound technicians perform wide range of duties which include minor and specialized tasks, you should be prepared to handle both. Some duties include:-
- Patient interaction:- Has a moral obligation towards patients and should communicate effectively easing up any qualms and fears they have.
- Knowledge about medicine and updating them: - Should be willing to learn and update knowledge about diagnostic medicine along with a strong background about knowledge pertinent to medicine
- Sterility and Hygiene: - Should perform tasks related to sterilization and maintain good hygiene to eliminate any chances of contamination.
- Preparing Patients for Procedure: Should prepare patients beforehand to procedures by explaining the procedure and relaxing them, after which probe / transducer is allowed to capture every angle and obtain diagnostic medicine that needed to be analyzed.
- Evaluation and Analysis: - Once the probe outputs images, it’s necessary they be analyzed for quality and interpreted accurately for diagnostic purposes
- Administrative Tasks:- Though miniscule Sonographer is expected to perform such as patient file maintenance, reviewing patient medical history and recording any significant findings.
- Inventories:- Should perform regular tasks such as stock checks
2) Academic Requirements:-
In order to be an ultrasound technician you need to be academically qualified before you can kick start your professional career. After assessment and acknowledging duties come choosing a academic program. Before you enroll to such courses, it’s necessary that you have a high school diploma to qualify for such programs.
Sonography training programs can be pursued either in full time campus based colleges or with online schools. Some entry level programs offered include.
- Certificate in Sonography/Ultrasound
- Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Sonography/Ultrasound
- Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Sonography/Ultrasound.
It’s mandatory the program and degree which you are choosing is accredited to the CAAHEP which is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, for if not accredited your program has no value and you would not be eligible for national certification nor would your academic qualification be treated as one in the job sector.
Tips & Warnings: Do not get carried away by information in school websites alone, do necessary background checks on accreditation and school reputation, visit CAAHEP website to find out if the college you are seeking admission is approved by them.
3) Choosing Specialization and Graduating
During one’s course a candidate can opt for specialization or the domain which he chooses to work. There are various specializations within ultrasound technology such as vascular technology , cardiac sonography , abdominal sonography etc.
Once learning modules are completed the candidate can choose to take up exams and graduate for which he is offered certificate of completion.
The graduate exam is offered only when the stipulated time duration of course gets completed, these programs can either be
- Four-year program: Which lead to bachelor’s degree.
- Two-year program. That led to associate’s degree
- One-year program: A certification program for which students obtain a vocational certificate after which they need to pursue external job oriented training in Sonography
Tips & Warnings: Verify if the graduate program makes you eligible for national certification exams and if not what additional training is required. Choose specialization keeping in mind your interest and career growth in that particular field.
4) Certification/Licensing (OPTIONAL)
To further enhance your prospects in job it’s necessary that you appear for the ARDMS exam which is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography; though it’s not mandatory it will be helpful to qualify for sonography jobs in large hospitals and in health care facilities located in metropolitan cities. Credentials earned after clearing the exam include RDMS- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, RDCS- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer, and RVT- Registered Vascular Technologist etc.
There are specific eligibility conditions that require a lower limit of the numbers of hours spent in practical training and coursework in accredited college, a candidate should fulfill these requirements before pursuing to opt for national certification. It is important you choose an educational program with enough scanning hours in a hospital setting, in order to qualify to sit for the certification exam.
Tips & Warnings: Visit the http://www.ardms.org/ for more details on current prerequisite standards in order to become certified, once you’ve completed your education
5) Getting Trained (OPTIONAL) and Securing Employment
Some jobs do require additional training courses, those that have not been part of your curriculum but are vital for the job that you seek employment. Take for example students interested in invasive cardiology can take up specialized training programs that involve medical imaging of heart, vascular technology and medical sonography. You can pursue such training programs in designated medical imaging facilities and medically approved hospitals.
Once you’ve been trained the next step and the last is of course to find a job. You can apply to ultrasound technician jobs through various establishments that include online job portals, ads in newspapers and employment magazines, consultancy firms among others. You can also apply manually by listing down potential employers and visiting career sections in their websites and applying for desired vacancies. Once you are successful in obtaining an interview, make sure you study about them along with brushing up your knowledge pertinent to sonography and once qualified you reap the fruits of your labor by becoming an Ultrasound Technician. Some common institutes where you can find potential employment include hospitals, Private Physician clinics, medical labs, nursing homes, pregnancy testing labs, home care providers among rest.
All THE BEST!