Learn more about ultrasound technician schools and job description. If you have an interest in taking up a career as a sonographer, first of all you will need to choose from one of the ultrasound technician schools at which to attend a training course. Ultrasound technicians are able to work in a range of fields and use special equipment to produce imagery of bodily structures. Ultrasound technicians are also known as diagnostic medical sonographer, and they work in hospitals and independent medical facility or imaging laboratories.
Ultrasound Technician Education and Training
Most of the equipment used emits high frequency sound waves that are inaudible to human ears. These penetrate into body tissues and cavities, without causing any harm. The reverberations of sound waves are used to produce a detailed picture of an individual’s health. In essence, an ultrasound technician is a medical professional who operates imaging equipment to in order to obtain and record internal imaging of patients’ bodies. This is then used by the physicians diagnose various health and medical conditions.
Those persons that have an interest in working as a sonographer, must first of all acquire a minimum of a two year associate degree from an accredited learning institute. To be eligible for an ultrasound technician program, all applicants must hold a high school diploma, and have achieved excellence in disciplines such as math and science. Ultrasound tech colleges offer courses in areas like:
- Medical and Legal Ethics in Healthcare
- Hemodynamic and Doppler
- Patient positioning
- Echocardiographic Pathology
- Clinical Pharmacology
- Sonographic Anatomy
- Clinical Rotations (Practicum)
The training course would prepare the student for employment by providing a syllabus that involves subjects such as anatomy, physics, physiology, psychology, medical ethics, and equipment usage. If an individual is already employed in the health care sector, it is possible for a one year course to be undertaken.
Upon completion of an accredited training program, graduates are eligible to register as professional sonographers through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This is an organization that is well respected in all health care practices around the United States.
Ultrasound Technician Careers
An ultrasound technician is responsible for helping to prepare patients that are to undergo specific tests as well as performing the procedure itself. They would be called on to explain the various steps that need to be taken as well as make a note of any conditions that would have an impact on the reading that is given. For example, if a patient is to undergo a mammogram, self examination results and family history would be recorded.
During the actual procedure, the sonographer would apply a gel like substance to the patient’s body in order to enhance the transmission of sound waves, this allows for an increase in accuracy. When images appear on a monitor, or the screen of the equipment used, the sonographer would carry out a thorough analysis for any evidence of tissue abnormalities, the data can then be stored for reference or further enquiry. The technician is also responsible for maintaining and managing the equipment that is used.
A sonographer can specialize in a chosen field of medical practice, for example gynecology, obstetrics, echocardiography, neurosonology, or ophthalmology. Ultrasound technicians who would like to specialize need to undergo an exact form of training.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
As in almost every area of health care, the number of openings for sonographers is expected to continue on an upward trend for the foreseeable future. This is because of the increasing demand that a growing and elderly population will place on the medical industry.
Information made available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the median annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers was $64,380 in 2010. The lowest 10% earned below $44,900, and the top 10% earned more than $88,490. Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow by 44% between 2010 and 2020. In all cases however, successfully completing the requirements of ultrasound technician schools is a requirement prior to joining the profession.