What is Ultrasound Sonography?
Ultrasound technology plays a significant role in the field of Medicine. Ultrasonosgraphy has been around for over 50 years and is now considered as an important scientific tool due to its highly accurate and non-invasive nature for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
A medical ultrasound machine is the main tool utilized in the health care setting to create an image of the internal organs of the human body. The machine produces images by transmitting high-frequency sound waves into the body and then analyzes the echoes that bounces back and creates an image of a target organ.
The machine produces images by transmitting high-frequency sound waves into the body.
The use of an ultrasound machine is crucial in the following subfields:
• Breast Imaging
Despite the simple science behind medical sonography, it is regarded vital in the field of diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Ultrasound machine is undoubtedly an important tool in any hospital care setting since most diagnostic requirements in these areas entail that patients undergo ultrasonography examination.
Ultrasound technology is a technological application that is known to be indispensible in the medical field mainly due to the following reasons:
- There are no documented cases related to ultrasound injury, organ damage, or mortality. Undergoing an ultrasound examination is generally safe and does not cause any unpleasant side effects among patients.
- This Machine is equipped with a transducer that emits high-frequency sound waves that human ears can’t hear. The transducer then catches the sound waves that bounce back from the organ under examination. Sound waves do not cause cell breakdown or inflammation, thus undergoing an ultrasound diagnostic procedure is pain free.
- Ultrasonography techniques have been around for more than five decades. It still utilizes the same concepts and is very much rampant in the bio-medical industry. The simple technology used in the production of these machines makes ultrasonography diagnostic exams and treatments highly affordable and readily accessible as well.
What is an Ultrasound Technician?
Due to the high demand of ultrasound imaging and treatment in the medical field, health institutions are in dire need of professionals who can masterfully operate ultrasound machines. Ultrasound technicians are a member of the allied health care team.
Ultrasound Tech ensure that a procedure or treatment involving the use of an ultrasound machines proceeds without a hitch.
Their main responsibilities are the following:
• Prepares an individual who is about to undergo an ultrasound procedure
• Perform the procedure with the use of an ultrasound machine
• Explain and describe the procedure to the patient
• Document the results from an procedure
• Takes note of significant medical findings
• Submits a detailed information regarding the result of an ultrasound examination
• Responsible for the care and maintenance of ultrasound machines
All these jobs and responsibilities may seem simple, but they are known to be actually complicated functions. Higher education and specialty in the field of medical sonography is needed in order to become a certified technician.
Ultrasound Technician Training
In order to become an ultrasound technician, an interested individual should first enroll in a tertiary school that offers ultrasound technician courses. The minimum requirement is to complete a two-year Associate’s Degree in Ultrasonography. It is currently the most popular option among individuals who want to work as an ultrasound technician since it only requires students to undergo classroom teaching and clinical training within a span of two years.
There are also universities and colleges that offer Bachelor’s Degree in Ultrasound Technology. This entails a student to complete a 4-year course which includes taking up general education subjects during the first two years in school. Basic and advanced knowledge in the fields of Science and Mathematics are prerequisites before a student takes up healthcare subjects. Patient care is one of the most integral courses that is taught among ultrasound technician students.
There are also Certificate programs that are offered among medical professionals who want to expand their credentials. Certificate programs only take a few months to a year to complete.
Ultrasound Schools and Education Courses
There are thousands of educational institutions that offer sonogram technician courses. However this is the case, it is recommended that an interested individual enroll in ultrasound technician schools that are accredited by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
Ultrasound technician Degrees
At present, ultrasound technician hopefuls have three education and training options to choose from:
• Bachelor’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
• Associate’s Degree in Ultrasound Technology
• Diploma or Certificate Course in Ultrasound Technology
Each of these courses has their own set of pros and cons. For individuals who want to work right away, they can simply enroll in a 2-year Associate’s Degree. The minimum requirements to become employed as an ultrasound technician are met by an associate’s degree graduate.
On the other hand, if you want an extensive educational background in your resume, you may want to undergo the 4-year Bachelor’s Degree program for Medical Sonography. This is ideal among student who would like to assume bigger roles and administrative position in the hospital setting.
Medical professionals like nurses, who would like to further their knowledge and skills in patient care enroll in Diploma or Certificate Ultrasonography courses. These programs are usually offered by colleges and universities to professionals who are working in the health care field. Since health care subjects and general education subjects have already been covered, all diploma course students need to do is undergo specialized training in ultarsonography. Depending on the schedule and availability of a student, a diploma course may only take a few months up to 1 year.
What Ultrasound Technician Classes To Take?
An ultrasound tech course prepares students to become competent and highly-skilled medical professionals. Not only are ultrasound technicians responsible for the proper utilization of ultrasound machine, they are required to have an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology as well. They are also expected to know the different aspects of patient care in order for them to have a fruitful and healthy interaction with patients and other member of the allied health team.
• Patient Care Courses
Since ultrasound technicians deal with patients on a day to day basis, they are taught on how to communicate and interact with patients. Basic and advanced communication skills such as therapeutic communication are taught among ultrasound technician students. In addition, ethical, legal, and psychological concepts in patient care are provided to students as well.
• Courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology
Ultrasound technician classes in anatomy and physiology are required since the job will entail these medical professionals to identify the human organs that are to be observed and inspected under an ultrasound machine.
• Physics for Ultrasound Technician Courses
Basic and advanced physics courses are taught to ultrasound technicians as well. Concepts on the inner working of an ultrasound machine are tackled during physics class. Topics may include three-dimensional applications, sound transmission, and diagnostic imaging among others. Students are given the opportunity to practice using an ultrasound machine during physics classes as well.
• Clinical Practicum Course
Ultrasound technician students are required to undergo clinical practicum classes so they can enhance their skills and apply the knowledge that they were able to learn in the classroom setting. Practicum or internship entails student to learn from certified technicians in the hospital setting. They are trained in the use, care, and maintenance of an ultrasound machine. They are also taught on how to interact with patients on a first-hand basis.
Students are exposed to various fields of medicine. They work with technicians that work in specialized fields so students are given the opportunity to plan their future ahead of them as well. They are given real-world instructions on how to undergo various imaging procedures on patients.
Students are graded in the clinical setting too. Their competence in dealing with patients and their skill in utilizing an ultrasound machine properly are assessed and graded by a clinical instructor. Their conduct and performance are also evaluated during their clinical practicum classes.
Certification Exams and Available Job Preparation
After graduation, students are required to take an ultrasound technician certification exam. Health care institutions require graduates to take up the certification exam. Professional recognition can only be attained if a graduate undergo the certification exam provided by the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers or ARDMS. Although it is not mandatory for graduates to take the ARDMS exam, graduates who have successfully passed were able to access ultrasound technician jobs faster than those who do not have professional recognition.
Students who graduated from an ARDMS-accredited school are known to be eligible test-takers of the certification exam. This is another reason why hopefuls are advised to enroll in a reputable school in the first place.
The examination assesses and evaluates the knowledge and skill of the examinee. Topics may include all or any of the following topics:
• Ultrasound equipment
• Patient Care and Management
Ultrasound Tech Jobs
There is clearly a high demand on ultrasound technicians in hospitals and other health-care settings. Jobs are not hard to find provided that you have the necessary requirements and certification from a reputable school. Good academic grades and satisfactory clinical practicum evaluation are also desirable qualities that an applicant should have.
An ultrasound technician career is highly-rewarding. A certified ultrasound technician can further his knowledge and skills by enrolling in specialty courses. This will enable him to work in a specific medical field, thus enabling him to become an expert technician in the long run. This means a higher salary rate compared to those who do not have specialty courses certifications.
How much these professionals earn ?
Starting ultrasound technicians can expect an average of $19.00/hour rate. The hourly rate may be a tad bit lower or higher depending on the state you are currently working in. There are states that offer higher rates to ultrasound technicians, while there are those that offer below average rates as well. The hourly rate can go as high as $34.00/hour once you start accumulating experience as a general ultrasound technician. Those who are working in specialty areas are paid more than the average rate.
The list below shows the average yearly income of ultrasound technicians :
• Ultrasonographer – $62,000
• Ultrasound Technician Sonographer- $65,000
Those who are working in specialty areas like vascular and cardiology sonography can earn up to $84,000 a year.
Evidently, the more years and experience in your ultrasound technician resume, the higher the salary rate becomes. Experienced ultrasound technicians who have undergone several trainings while working are given salary raise as well. Seasoned ultrasound technician are also provided with the opportunity to be promoted to higher management over time.
Remember that geographic location is a major determinant of the expected salary of an ultrasound technician too. For those who are looking into earning more than the average salary should consider relocating to states or cities that are known to pay the highest salary rate. Of course, an applicant should have an impressive ultrasound technician salary if he or she wishes to earn big and assume more responsibilities in the work setting.
An ultrasound technician education is not enough to become accepted in a job. One needs to showcase exceptional skills and expert knowledge about the nature of ultrasound tech job. An individual’s performance at school and previous employment history are also known to dictate the salary rate of a professional. With this, it is important for students to seriously focus their efforts on studies first. Although ultrasound technician programs are hard at first, they will eventually pay off once you become employed in a reputable health care institution.
A secure and financially-stable future is within reach among ultrasound technicians. The demand for professionals is fast increasing and the advancements in the field of medicine facilitate the growing need for ultrasound technician across all health care settings. It is a rewarding profession which not only guarantees good financial returns but promises a sense of accomplishment as well.