Do you want to enter the medical and healthcare field? Are you looking to help people discover what’s going on in their bodies through ultrasound?
If you’re planning to take your pick from the healthcare careers, being an ultrasound tech is a good choice.
Do you like to help pregnant women see their future kids, or do you like to help doctors see what’s wrong with a patient? You’re in luck. Below, we’ve got a guide about how you can become an ultrasound tech.
1. Duties of an Ultrasound Technician
When you hear or see the word ultrasound, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? You’ll most likely imagine the device doctors use to check on pregnant women. Ultrasounds aren’t only for checking in on how well a fetus is doing.
We also have an internal ultrasound, which enters the patient’s body to check the health of the organs. In anesthesiology, ultrasounds help anesthetists guide a needle to the nerves. There are many other uses of ultrasound in the field.
Yet, the duty of the ultrasound technician or sonographer remains the same. Your job is to examine the internal processes and organ functions. You can also specialize to do a specific job, like working as a prenatal care sonographer.
You’ll work with other healthcare professionals in the field. You’ll also help prepare patients for procedures and maintain ultrasound equipment. You also have to record patient history and report your findings to the patient’s medical team.
Sonographer vs. Ultrasound Technician
Sonography is the surface-level method that uses sound waves to create an image of internal organs. It doesn’t use radiation, making it a safe way to assess a person’s internal organs. A sonograph is the term for the image of an ultrasound, and a sonographer is a person who takes that image.
2. Getting an Ultrasound Technician Degree
When you get an ultrasound tech education, you need to have an Associate’s Degree (AA) in diagnostic medical sonography. It is the minimum education to become a practicing sonographer. If you want to get a Bachelor’s degree, look for schools that have Health Science degrees.
Some schools offer a Diagnostic Medical Imagine Imagery degree. This is the closest degree program related to sonography. Here, you’ll receive theoretical and hands-on training to develop a good foundation.
You’ll also get clinical training where you’ll get a more hands-on experience in classes and labs. This is where you’ll apply what you learned on the routine and use specialized types of imaging. You can also see at this stage which specialty you’ll want to focus on.
Don’t forget to get your sonography certification. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists will give you the certification exams you need to get licensure. Once you receive your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, you’re ready to enter the field and gain experience.
3. Applying to Become an Ultrasound Tech
Let’s say you’re done with your education. You’re now ready to enter the market and look for a variety of ultrasound tech jobs. The next step is to get your paperwork in order, like ultrasound tech certifications.
Some hard skills of a sonographer include:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Dexterity to operate ultrasound equipment
- Knowledge of anatomy and physiology
- Understanding of pathophysiology
- Reading, writing, and interpreting technical findings from ultrasound exams
- Lifting, pushing, or pulling over 50 lbs. of equipment
You also need to be compassionate and empathetic. As a medical professional, you need to know how to stay calm under pressure. You also need to practice ethical conduct.
Since you’ll have direct interaction with patients, you also need good listening skills. This also ties in with the communication skills you need to report findings to your team. With that said, you also need to learn how to work with a team while maintaining an indecent work ethic.
If you’re sure you have these traits, prepare your resume and cover letters. Next, be ready for the job interview. Impress potential employers and show them how well-versed you are in sonography.
4. What You Need to Know About Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
Be aware of the new technologies and fields emerging in the world of sonographers. The pandemic has pushed everyone to consider telemedicine. You also need to be ready to adapt to POCUS ultrasound and other new markets for a traveling sonographer.
The field is always changing thanks to breakthroughs and innovations.
As an ultrasound tech, you can choose where you want to work. You can work in a doctor’s office of medical/diagnostic lab if you dislike hospitals. You can become a sonographer for an outpatient center or other healthcare facilities.
You can get a vocational certificate if you want to get a job as an ultrasound tech right away. It’ll take you one year to complete, but it’ll be harder to get a job with a vocational certificate. It’ll be better to get a vocational sonography course if you’re already a professional in a related field.
5. How Much Does Being an Ultrasound Tech Cost and What Will You Earn?
Before we talk about what you’ll earn when you become an ultrasound tech, let’s look at what it’ll cost you.
The average cost to become an associate sonographer is between $30,000 and $40,000. It’ll take you 18 months up to 2 years of ultrasound tech schooling to become an associate sonographer. When you become an associate sonographer, you earn a salary of $43,900 to $109,400.
If you take 4 years to get a Bachelor’s degree, it’ll cost you between $50,000 and $60,000. The costs will often depend on the school. When you finish your education, you can earn $52,600 to $97,050.
If you take 2 more years to get a Master’s degree, you can earn $65,100 to $95,100 as a sonographer. The average cost of getting a Master’s degree is $65,000 to $80,000.
In 2019, the median salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer is $74,320.
Become an Ultrasound Technician Today
That is our guide on how you can become an ultrasound tech.
We hope we answered some key questions for you about becoming a sonographer. Remember, every decent, well-paying, and the stable job takes time and effort. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the prize once you enter the hard life of a radiology student.
Don’t think that being an ultrasound tech is the right career for you? Do you want to read more about other related careers you may want to enter? Check out our other posts for more content on these topics.