How to Become an Ultrasound Tech: Salary and Career Options

If you’re considering a career in ultrasound technology, you’re probably wondering what the job entails and how much you can expect to earn. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about this exciting field.

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Ultrasound technicians, also called diagnostic medical sonographers, use special equipment to create images of patients’ internal organs and tissues. These images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Ultrasound techs typically need an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, although some jobs may require a bachelor’s degree. In addition, ultrasound techs must be licensed or certified in most states.

Becoming an ultrasound tech requires completing an accredited educational program and passing a national certification exam. Ultrasound techs can specialize in a specific area of sonography, such as abdominal imaging or cardiovascular imaging. Some ultrasound techs may also choose to become registered in multiple specialties.

What is an Ultrasound Tech?

An ultrasound technologist, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer, is a medical professional who specializes in imaging using sound waves. Ultrasound technologists operate machines called ultrasound scanners to create images of various parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, and unborn babies.

Ultrasound technologists typically work in hospitals or diagnostic imaging centers. They may work in other settings as well, such as doctor’s offices or mobile units. In most cases, ultrasound technologists work full time. Some may need to work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ schedules.

Ultrasound technologists must be able to stand for long periods of time and lift heavy equipment. They must be detail oriented and have good hand-eye coordination. They must also be able to communicate effectively with patients and other members of the healthcare team.

What are the Education Requirements to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

An ultrasound technician, also known as a diagnostic medical sonographer, is a medical professional who uses special equipment to create images of the body. These images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat various medical conditions.

Ultrasound technicians typically need to complete an accredited training program and earn a certificate or associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. Some schools also offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the field. After completing their education, ultrasound technicians must pass a national certification exam to earn the credential of Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS).

Most states do not have specific licensure requirements for ultrasound technicians, but some states may require them to complete continuing education credits on a regular basis to maintain their RDMS credential.

What are the Certification Requirements to Become an Ultrasound Tech?

Certification requirements for ultrasound technologists can vary by state, but employers typically prefer or require certification from one of the two main certifying organizations: the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Most states recognize both certifying organizations.

Ultrasound technologists can pursue several different credentialing options through ARDMS and ARRT. The most common credentials are Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS), Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS), and Registered in Musculoskeletal Sonography (RMSKS). To be eligible for ARDMS or ARRT certification, candidates must first pass an exam. Requirements for eligibility can vary by credential, but they typically include completing an accredited program and completing a specified number of clinical hours.

Once certified, ultrasound technologists must maintain their credentials by completing continuing education requirements. These requirements vary by credential, but they typically involve completing a certain number of continuing medical education (CME) credits every few years.

What is the Salary of an Ultrasound Tech?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for ultrasound technicians was $73,860 in 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,790, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $105,090.

Job Outlook for Ultrasound Techs

The job outlook for ultrasound technicians is very positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in this field will grow by 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to an aging population that will require more diagnostic imaging, as well as the increasing use of ultrasound for non-invasive procedures.

Ultrasound Tech Career Options

In diagnostics, ultrasound techs may work in:

Abdominal sonography – This area includes the kidneys, liver, spleen, and pancreas.
Gynecologic and obstetric sonography – This area looks at the female reproductive system.
Neurosonography – This area assesses the brain and nervous system.
Pediatric sonography – This area assesses infants and children.
Vascular sonography – This area looks at blood vessels.
Ophthalmic sonography – This area assesses the eye.
Echocardiography – This area assesses the heart.

In therapy, ultrasound techs may work in:

Emergency medicine
Pain management
Physical therapy

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