Ultrasound technicians, also called as diagnostic medical sonographers, diagnostic ultrasound professionals, sonography technologists, or sonographers are a significant part of medical procedures involving ultrasounds. Below are the detailed duties and working environment of an ultrasound technician, as well as what all it takes to become a skilled professional in this field.
Job Description and Duties
The key job of an ultrasound technician is to obtain images of the patient’s body with the help of sound waves, which are further used to analyse their medical status and health conditions.
- Handling and operating the ultrasound equipment to take images describing the tissues, liquid buildup and organs in terms of shape, composition, and motion.
- Studying the images in order to figure out the variations between imperfect and healthy regions to include them in the report meant to be sent to the physician.
- Summing up the technical inferences and forwarding the same for diagnosis to the physician.
- Making adjustments to the equipments to ensure that the ultrasound images are appropriate for diagnosis.
- Assisting the patients in the preparation for the ultrasound, that involves explaining them the process in detail, leading them to the table, as well as applying gel to the skin surface.
- Making sure that the patient feels comfortable during the procedure with effective communication.
- Keeping and managing the patient records and reports.
Significant Skills of an Ultrasound Technician
Apart from medical expertise and knowledge, a number of other skills, including good communication skills, strong social skills, and good interaction abilities are required to work as an ultrasound technician, so that one can deal with people exhibiting different attributes and attitudes in an amicable way, whether it includes the patients or the fellow professionals.
Typically, ultrasound technicians work indoors where the cleanliness and room temperatures are under constant monitoring. The rooms are kept at a little colder temperature, which makes it important to for the technicians to wear sweaters or full-sleeved shirts underneath their medical scrubs.
Working in a hospital involves performing sonograms in an operating room, birthing room, on emergency trauma room, or at a patient’s bedside. One should expect to witness broken bones, blood, injuries, and patients in grave pain, as well as is required to handles any situation compassionately and professionally. Other work environments include free-standing clinics, out-patient centers, physician offices, and mobile medical vans.
Educations Qualifications become an Ultrasound Technician
Different pathways can be followed to become an ultrasound technician. Enrolling in postsecondary certificate programs for ultrasound technicians requires having past work experiences in the medical sphere and obtaining a degree in their specialisation. Equipment operation and getting experience through clinical studies are the focus areas of certificate programs.
Programs such as associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree for ultrasound technicians are also offered by many colleges and universities. It takes four years for the completion of a bachelor’s degree program, whereas associate’s degrees in medical sonography takes two years for the completion. In-depth knowledge of ultrasound and job opportunities with higher earnings are often possessed by bachelor’s program graduates.
The degree received on the completion of the program works as a significant factor for the duration for the training. The training involves teaching the students about medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, patient care, basic physics, medical ethics, instrumentation, and how to study sonographic images. To teach practical skills critical to work in this field, these programs also include clinical and hands-on training.
Obtaining a Certification
It is a must to obtain a certification in this profession. In order to get certified, an ultrasound technician is required to graduate from accredited program and pass the certification exam by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. One can be certified in a specific sphere of ultrasound technology, and open doors to better employment opportunities and higher salaries.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, an ultrasound tech’s career grows very quickly, as more and more healthcare monitoring is required by the aging population. Several positions and opportunities may arise with the technological advancements, along with opportunities to specialise in a broad spectrum of ultrasound fields. Once can progress to management positions, such as senior technologist, program director, department supervisor, clinical instructor, as well as can opt for business-based positions with ultrasound manufacturers. Working as an ultrasound technician in a physician’s office shows extremely high growth.
It is quite a rewarding career to work as an ultrasound technician, with an average expected annual salary around $66,000 for experienced and qualified individuals. Although, the minimum salary starts from $35,000, the raises may get as high as $84,000.