Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use high-frequency sound wave machines to inspect internal organs. These enable the technician to see inside the human body and notice any ailments or irregularities.
Ultrasound techs can specialize in ob/GYN, breast, abdominal, or cardiac/vascular sonography. If you’re considering becoming a sonographer, you’ll need to get a degree, practical training, and an official certification.
Here are 5 essential steps to becoming an ultrasound technician and work in a field that you love.
Is This Career Choice Right for You?
Before you enroll in an ultrasound tech training program, make sure you understand what the job entails. If you know someone who works as an ultrasound tech, talk to them about their workday, responsibilities, salaries, and type of studies.
This will help you decide whether this job is for you, and what the prospects are in terms of career advancement.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Ultrasound Tech?
The entire process can take anywhere from 1 to 4 years. This depends on the level of education you obtain and the program requirements. Then, there are exams you should take in order to become a registered sonographer.
If you want to go through an accelerated program, consider taking an emergency medicine ultrasound course.
1. Obtain the Necessary Education
To become an ultrasound tech, you’ll need to complete a certain level of education. There are accredited universities and educational institutions that offer Bachelor Degrees, accelerated programs, and associate’s degrees.
During this time, you’ll also need to complete a training program to gain practical experience. Depending on your previous health care experience and state of residence, these programs can take 1-4 years.
2. Get a Certification
Once you graduate, you’ll need to obtain a certification from an accredited professional organization. Two such organizations are the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) and the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists).
To get a certification, you need to take exams related to your specialization. Once you’ve successfully passed the exams, you’ll become a registered diagnostic medical sonographer.
3. Start Looking for Jobs or Internships
Once you accumulate some knowledge, it’s time to put your skills into practice. Internships are a great way to start your career and discover what your strengths and interests are.
Most programs offer training as part of their curriculum, but once you get a degree and pass the exams, you’ll be ready to look for a job.
4. Keep Your Certifications Active
To keep working as a sonographer and meet all ultrasound tech requirements, you have to keep your certifications active. Certifications issued by the ARDMS are valid for 10 years and you also have to complete 30 hours of additional education before renewing.
ARRT certifications require sonographers to complete 24 credits of continuing education over the course of two years.
5. Look Into Career Advancement Opportunities
After working as an ultrasound tech for a while, you’ll gain enough knowledge and experience to become an expert in your field. You can then look into professional opportunities in teaching, research, management, or mentoring.
You can also consider specializing in another area, which will open doors for higher-paid job opportunities.
These Are the Steps to Becoming an Ultrasound Technician
Now that you know the steps to becoming an ultrasound technician, it’s time to pick the right program for you.
This career requires a high level of knowledge and dedication, but it’s a noble, exciting choice.
Need more career orientation tips? Check out some of the other articles we’ve written right here on our website on this topic.