Ultrasound technicians are also known as ultrasound sonographers, diagnostic medical sonogrophers, ultrasonographers, ultrasound technicians, or simply sonographers. As an ultrasound technician, you work directly with physicians and patients and operate imaging equipment that non-invasively uses sound waves to diagnose or rule out pathology in patients. Ultrasound technician job duties vary across specialties, from monitoring the development of a fetus, to evaluating the flow of blood throughout a patient’s vascular system. You must have a firm grasp of anatomy and pathology, good spatial and three-dimensional perception, an ability to interact with patients in a compassionate manner, and the desire to work cohesively with physicians, nurses, and other technologists. You can be at the forefront of medical technological advances as 3D ultrasound technology blossoms, and new devices allow for improved portability (pocket ultrasounds) and improved resolution. According to the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography), you can become certified as a:
- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (focusing on abdomen, breast, obstetrics and gynecology and/or the nervous system)
- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (focusing on adult, fetal and/or pediatric echocardiography)
- Registered Vascular Technologist (focusing on cerebral and peripheral vascular systems)
Although one year certificate programs are available (especially for those already employed in the medical field), the most common degree ultrasound technicians possess is an Associate’s degree. It is recommended that the program you choose is accredited by the CAAHEP (The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educations Programs). An Associate’s degree–coupled with an ARDMS certification and excellent recommendations–can make you a very successful job candidate in this field.
Ultrasound sonographers are highly respected specialists that can have flexible schedules. There are a variety of environments where you can work to fit your lifestyle preferences. You can work in a clinic with set hours or in the hospital and see sicker patients with greater exposure to pathology. If you have a family and want to work part time, there are many opportunities for part time medical sonographer jobs. Some ultrasound technicians choose to work in diagnostic laboratories, outpatient care facilities, and universities.
Ultrasound technicians earn some of the highest salaries of all medical technician careers. Monster.com just named ultrasonography as the second best paying job you can get with an Associate’s degree (two year). The median compensation for ultrasound techs is $65,210 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2011 Data. The Highest 10% of Ultrasound Techs make $90,640. This is impressive compensation for medical professionals who only need two years of education after high school. In California, the average salary for an ultrasound tech is $81,750.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for diagnostic medical sonographers (ultrasound technicians) is very promising with a projection of 44% more positions available by the year 2020. The BLS rates this growth as “much faster than average” and notes that sonography is gaining popularity due to the advantages it confers over invasive diagnostic procedures. As health care laws increasingly limit spending, and as the Affordable Health Act sets the stage for new medical cost cutting, ultrasound will gain increased acceptance as it is lower cost than most other modalities of medical imaging. There will always be demand for medical ultrasounds because they are fast, radiation-free, and low cost to the patient. Isn’t it time to get this top medical job opportunity on your resume?
DoctorCPR Physician Group