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How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Updated on September 15, 2015

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician

Wanna know how to become an ultrasound technician? Ultrasound technicians, also known as sonographers or ultrasonographers, provide internal body images known as sonograms to aid in medical diagnosis and treatment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, becoming an ultrasound technician can be completed in a two or four year time period. For a two year program at an ultrasound school, expect to receive an associate’s degree. For a four year program, individuals will receive a bachelor’s degree. The time period for training varies between colleges or trade school programs and individuals wanting to become an ultrasound technician can expect to make anywhere from 40 to 80 thousand a year. Earnings heavily depend on the area of residency, demand and number of years of experience. An ultrasound technician generally works in a hospital setting after graduation from an ultrasound school program. In fact, over 50 percent of ultrasound tech jobs are either in a private or public hospital setting.

Follow the how to become an ultrasound technician tips to fullfill your dreams of furthering your education. Image courtesy of: tkobosz of
Follow the how to become an ultrasound technician tips to fullfill your dreams of furthering your education. Image courtesy of: tkobosz of

Ultrasound Technician General Job Description

Ultrasound technicians use sonography technology that is radiation free. High frequency sound waves are transmitted through a wand that creates images onto a monitor screen. Ultrasound technicians smear a lubricating jelly onto an area of a patient that is requested by a physician to be imaged. The wand is placed onto the lubricating jelly and moved around to take internal body snapshots. Photographs, known as sonograms are then printed and sent to the physician for aid in diagnosis or medical treatment.

Ultrasound Technician Specialty Areas

There are seven areas of specialty in sonography. The most well known to the average individual is Obstetrics-Gynecology, which is a specialty of imagining of the female reproductive health. Ultrasound technicians take sonograms of the ovaries, uterus, and a fetus if a woman is pregnant. Training for becoming an ultrasound technician in this area helps students properly identify a fetus and the reproductive female organs. Students are taught during training to properly take sonograms for medical use.

The other specialties of an ultrasound technician are the breasts, abdomen, Ophthalmology (eyes), Echocardiography (heart), Neurosonology (spinal and brain) and Vascular (vein and blood flow). Individuals becoming an ultrasound technician will learn the same techniques in this field, just as students do in the obstetrics sonography.

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician Steps

The first step is to find a college or vocational school nearby that offers Ultrasound Technology training. You can contact a few nearby schools by telephone and ask if they offer CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technology training or go directly to Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs for a referral. Visit the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) by typing in into your web browser.

Apply to the school that offers an accredited program to become an ultrasound technician. Fill out the necessary school application and send it back to the school.

Talk to the financial aid office of the school for options to pay for the training. Fill out a FASFA form to qualify for state and federal grant money for the program. Understand that to receive grant money from a state or the federal government that funds are based on need. Calculations are made from your income that is reported on your taxes, funds in your savings or bank account and your parents income is included if you are under the age of 24.

Complete the necessary training by following the guidance of school employee that will be assigned to you. He or she will ensure that you are registered for the proper classes that are required to become an ultrasound technician. He or she will also ensure that you are placed for your clinical training where you will be placed with a registered sonographer to gain the hands on experience of what to expect and how to perform tasks when you graduate from the program. The individual will also guide you for job placement several months before you complete your training.

Prepare for the registry examination. After completing the necessary training to become an ultrasound technician, you will be required to take an exam on the course material, proper task procedures and other important information. Although states do not require that an ultrasound technician be registered, most hospitals prefer that individuals are during the hiring process. By not registering, you will greatly reduce your chances of employment.

Register with the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers (ARDMS) after successfully passing the examination.

How to Become an Ultrasound Technician Tips and Warnings

Insure that any school that you decide to attend is in compliance with CAAHEP accreditation. Hiring hospitals and doctors expect ultrasound technicians to receive training under the proper accreditation.

Becoming an ultrasound technician can be competitive with previous average grades from high schooling. Consider taking a few college classes and perform well to increase your chances of getting into an ultrasound technology program before applying.

References for "How to Become an Ultrasound Technician":

Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Plano, Texas


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