How To Become An Ultrasound Technician
Many hospitals and clinics have a need for specialized technicians to help run tests and handle equipment. This is the case for ultrasound technicians, who handle all types of ultrasound equipment. While they aren't doctors, and don't get the recognition that they often deserve, these technicians still play a vital role in the testing process for patients, in order to find out diseases and provide better diagnostics. Here's how to become an ultrasound technician, and what the work involves.
Ultrasound technicians, also called sonographers, are people who handle very sophisticated equipment to conduct imaging tests with patients. As such, if you want to enter the field, you need some skills that qualify you to do the work required. The first such skill is being able to handle and understand technology easily. This technology changes quickly, and you will be asked to work with many different machines. So your ability to use computer equipment, and learn how machines work correctly, is crucial. On top of just administering tests, you will likely have to optimize and maintain these systems, so there's definitively a technical side to this job. You also need some charisma, or being able to talk with people. Since you will assist doctors in conducting the test, you may have to interact with the patients on a regular basis. While you don't provide actual diagnostics, you still may get questions, and have to direct people to position themselves properly for the test.
If you have these skills, and want to enter the field of ultrasound technicians, then you need to get an education first. Typically, a certificate or associate degree is the minimum required to get a job in this industry. Some people get a bachelor degree, and get a broader background in medicine, although that's not always required. After your education, you may also need to be certified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This ensures that you can work with dangerous equipment, such as x-ray machines. Then, an internship is often required before you can start working full time. A daily job description would typically involve maintaining systems, providing tests, and helping with diagnostics. Your ability to focus on your work is crucial, since patient health is at risk. So it's important to always keep that in mind while you work.
Overall, ultrasound technicians are employed in many places like hospitals, private clinics, and medical laboratories. The job opportunities are typically quite good, and the salary is decent, especially if you go for higher education. Some private employers can pay up to $70,000 for this field. If you like the job description, and you have the necessary skills, then maybe this is the career for you.